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His mind engrossed 
His hands encumbered 
His feet entangled 



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A History of 

The Third Auxiliary 

Surgical Group 

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To .4// /£r Men and Women 
Who Helped to Make 

The Third Auxiliary Surgical Group 

a stout-hearted 


red -blooded outfit 

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HIS book came very close to not being written. 

The idea for it came to me in the very beginning, when the Third Aux was 
still floundering at Fort Sam Houston. My preliminary notes quickly grew into 
a regular diary and this in turn became the "little black book*' that my friends 
were always so curious about. Overseas I had a good opportunity to continue 
my work as historian because I was entrusted with the task of preparing the an- 
nual reports* From time to time I interviewed the men who had distinguished 
themselves. Gradually the material grew and when the war was over, it filled a 
good-sized box. 

That box became my undoing. Carrying it was out of the question. It had 
to be mailed home. Uneasily I put my address on it and took it to the mail 
clerk. That was the last I ever saw of it. For two hectic months I chased from one 
post office to another, trying to retrieve my property. It was to no avail. The 
Army had played me one last trick. 

At home I immediately set the wheels in motion to recover what I could* I 
wrote to every Third Auxer* I went to Washington and spent a month in the 
office of the Surgeon General* I interviewed every Third Auxer I could reach 
during a time when I crossed the continent a dozen times* I saw men in New 
York and Los Angeles, in Portland and Miami, and many places in between. 
Slowly the material began to reaccumulate. All this took a year. 

Then came a period during which I was so busy establishing myself in the 
practice of medicine that I could give no thought to the book. This lasted two 
years. At the end of that time I reviewed my position and decided that I could 
not quit. The story of the Third Aux simply had to be written. 

Help came in the form of a trusted friend, Miss June Case, I dictated and she 
transcribed. The first draft took a whole year* As I progressed, I realized that 
my information was not everywhere complete. I needed fill-in from widely scat- 
tered members of the Group. Many of these had dropped out of sight. This led 
to an extensive correspondence with dozens of Third Auxers, all of whom I hereby 
thank for their enthusiastic cooperation. Revision started. Some sections had to 


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be re-written. Others were discarded. Out of this came the second draft and fin- 
ally the third. Miss Case never gave up. If it had not been for her constant en- 
couragement, I would have faltered long ago. 

My approach to the subject has been both objective and subjective. The Third 
Aux unfolds itself in these pages exactly as it unfolded itself to the men who be- 
longed to it. Yet, it also appears in its proper historical perspective. Background 
facts are described in non-technical language. The reader witnesses the entire 
travail from beginning to end, without ever being out of touch with the larger 
scheme. He is introduced to the Third Aux in its embryo stage at Fort Sam 
Houston and he follows it through the vicissitudes in England, the gropings in 
North Africa* the experiment in Sicily, and finally to the culmination in Nor- 
mandy and beyond. In this way he sees the whole story from every angle. It 
is a human story and it is a story of great achievements- I am proud to record 
it here. 

Individuals in this narrative are identified by name and by their rank at the 
time they appear on the scene, rather than by their rank at the time of discharge 
from the Army. In a story so discursive, it was impossible to mention everyone 
individually. The Third Aux had many heroes who go unsung. Let the reader 
remember that for every exploit here described, a dozen hover in the background. 

This book is being published in an edition of approximately two hundred and 
twenty-five copies. The entire project has been financed by members of the Group. 
In spite of the high price of this limited edition, the response has been beyond 
expectation. Many men have bought gift copies. Without this support, this book 
would not have been possible. 

The photographs come from many sources. The Army Signal Corps is respon- 
sible for most of them. Life magazine contributed a certain number free of 
charge, Third Auxers sent in a good many. A few were supplied by the Navy, 
the Air Force, Acme Newspicturcs, and professional studios in England. The 
sketches are by Gordon Dodds and the painting by Alfred Sensenbach. The 
Walt Disney organization designed the official emblem of the Third Aux. Klein- 
bardt's work has been lost. 

And so this book goes to press. May it contribute in some small measure to 
a better understanding of the work of the surgeons in the Second World War and 
to the glory of that great outfit, the Third Auxiliary Surgical Group. 

San Diego, California Clifford L. Graves. 

August 19 50 

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5 May 1942 Third Aux activated at Fort Sam Houston, 

Lieutenant Colonel J. Fred Blatt assumes command. 

27 November 1942 Third Aux leaves Fort Sam Houston. 

15 December 1942 Third Aux arrives in England. 

5 February 1943 Colonel J, Fred Blatt takes half the Third 

Aux to North Africa* Major Clifford L. Graves 
assumes command in England. 

16 February 1943 Half the Third Aux arrives in North Africa. 

16 March 1943 First teams leave for the front. 

12 May 1943 End of Tunisian campaign, 

10 July 1943 D Day in Sicily, 

17 August 1943 End of Sicilian campaign. 

11 November 1943 Departure from Palermo, Sicily, 
27 November 1943 . Arrival in England. 

22 December 1943 Reunion at Bewdley Camp. 

21 February 1944 Lieutenant Colonel Elmer A. Lodmell assumes 

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6 June 1944 D Day in Normandy. 

24 July 1944 Lieutenant Colonel Joseph A. Crislcr, Jr, 

assumes command* 

8 May 1945 V-E Day. 

12 May 1945 Lieutenant Colonel Stephen J. Karpenski 

assumes command. 

31 July 1945 Third Aux becomes 896th Professional Medical 


12 October 1945 896th Professional Medical Services inactivated. 


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For superior performance of duty 
in the accomplishment of excep- 
tionally difficult tasks during the 
period from 1 May 1944 to 
51 July 1944 




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Services ai Supply 

First Army 

Provisional Engineer 
Speciql Bnae-d* 

TO I it Airborne Division 

82nd Airb»rn« Division 


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5 May 1*42-2 7 Nov. 1942 Fort Sun Houston 

27 Nov. 1*42-30 Nov, 1*41 En rout* 

30 Nov, 1*42- 7 Dec, 1*42 Camp Kilmer 

7 Dec. 1942-15 Dec. 1*42 En route 

16 Dee, 1*42- 5 Feb, 1*43 . . Oaford, England 

5 Feb, 1*43-13 Feb. 1*43 . . , En rou«# 

1* Feb. 1*45- « April 1*4* Onto, Algeria 

6 April 1 f4J- 8 April I #4) En route 

ft April 1943-13 Aug. 194J . Am M'li]., Algeria 

13 Aug. 1943-1* Oct. 1*43 . Bilerte, Tuniiia 

1* Oct. 1*43-20 Oct. 1*43 En route 

2* Oct, 1*43-11 Nov. 1*43 Palermo, Sicily 

11 Nov. 1*43-27 Nov, 1*43 En route 

27 Nov. 1943-1* Dec. 1943 Lichfield, England 

5 Feb, 1943-27 March 1943 

Oxford, England 

27 March 1943-11 Oct. 1*43 Sudbury, England 

11 Oct. 1943-22 Dec. 1943 Shugborough Park, England 

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1* Dec. 1*43-20 June 1*44 Stourport, England 

20 June 1*44-22 June 1*44 En roue* 

22 June 1944-24 June 1944 St, Laurent, France 

24 June 1*44-16 July 1*44 Cricquevill*, France 

1 6 July 1 944- 5 Aug. t 944 Liwr, France 

5 Aug, 1944-1* Aug. 1944 Canity, France 

1* Aug, 1*44-26 Aug, 1*44 Lauay, France 

26 Aug, 1944- 2 Sept, 1*44 Senonehe*, France 

2 Sept. 1944- 5 Sept. 1944 Voiaini, France 

3 Sept. 1944-14 Sept. 1944 La Cap*tle, France 

14 Sept. 1*44-16 Sept. 1*44 Ouffct, Belgium 

U Sept. 1*44-21 Sept. 1*44 Herbert**!, Belgium 

2ti Sept, 1*44-26 Oct, 1*44 Batten, Belgium 

Z6 Oct, 1*44-1 8 Dec, 1*44 Spa, Belgium 

It Dec. 1944-16 Jan. 1943 Huy, Belgium 

17 Jan. 1 943- * March 1945 . . . . . Spa, Belgium 

10 March 1945-25 March 1*45 Etchweiler, Germany 

26 March 1*45- 6 April 1*45 Bad God#tb*rg t Germany 

7 April 1*45-1) April 1*45 Marburg, Germany 

14 April 1945-22 April 1945 Bad Wildungen, Germany 

23 April 1945-23 May 1945 Weimar, Germany 

(Belvederer Alice) 

23 May 1*45-23 June 1*43 Weimar, Germany 

(SS Barracki) 
23 June 1*45-31 July 1*45 Gietten, Germany 

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Chapter I Fort Sam Houston Here We Come 3 

Chapter II The North Atlantic 19 

Chapter III Oxford ...... 31 

Chapter IV North Africa 41 

Chapter V Sicily 75 

Chapter VI Dear Old England Isn't the Same 89 

Chapter VII The Lull Before the Storm 109 

Chapter VIII Norm andy ... 12J 

Chapter IX From Normandy to the Siegfried Line 177 

Chapter X The Battle of the Bulge 241 

Chapter XI The Last Lap 299 

Chapter XII Statistics 31 J 

Chapter XIII Other Auxiliary Surgical Groups 321 

Chapter XIV Epilogue 325 

Appendix 329 


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North Africa 

Faces page 47 


Faces page 82 


Faces page 94 

Operation OVERLORD 

Faces page 124 

Utah Beachhead 

Faces page 132 

Omaha Beachhead 

Faces page 151 

The Battle of the Bulge 

Faces page 241 

The Path of First Army 

Faces page 302 


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The captain propped his feet on the desk 
and reached for the morning paper. He was 
bored, In the adjutant's office at Fitzsimom 
Hospital, nothing ever happened. A few 
clerks were talking about last night's bas- 
ketball game. A mail orderly dawdled by 
the water cooler. Through a glass partition 
came the sounds of a typewriter, muffled 
and intermittent. Nobody was in a hurry. 
The captain began to read. 

The news was all about the war. The Japs 
were pushing up the Burma Road. The Brit- 
ish had just occupied Madagascar. A man 
called Eisenhower seemed to swing a lot of 
weight in Washington. But it all sounded 
so far away. By comparison Fitzsimons Gen- 
eral Hospital was just drudgery. Nothing 
but reports, inspections, and more reports. 
Why couldn't the war be fought without 
three copies of every trivial transaction? 
The captain shifted his gaze to the window 
where the Rocky Mountains seemed to 
frame his thoughts. It would be nice to have 
a picnic tonight. 

The telephone rang, 

"This is Fitzsimons General Hospital." 

"This is Fort Sam Houston, Just issued 
orders for the Third Auxiliary Surgical 
Group* "We want the cadre here tomorrow/' 

Holy smokes. The Third Auxiliary Sur- 
gical Group? Why, that was his new outfit! 
And the cadre was supposed to be there to- 
morrow? No time to be lost now. Clear the 

decks. Picnic go hang. Round up the men. 
Finish service records. Transfer company 
funds. Find out about trains. Get rolling. 
It was J May 1942. 

A cadre is a small group of key personnel 
that is sent out to form the nucleus of a 
new unit. In this case it consisted of Cap- 
tain Clifford L« Graves and six enlisted men: 
a first sergeant, a mess sergeant, a supply 
sergeant, a clerk, a cook, and a cook's helper. 
These men had been selected a few days 
earlier but they had no inkling that their 
departure would be so precipitous. Graves 
thought that he could smell a rat. He went 
to the executive officer. 

"Say — what is this? Are we going on a 
wild goose chase or do they really want us 
that bad?" 

"Don't kid yourself. You're the first out~ 
fit to be ordered out by phone. I bet you'll 
be on the boat in a week!" 

Good heavens! This sounded like the" real 
thing. Fort Sam Houston was a thousand 
miles away. Twenty-four hours by train. 
Suppose he missed that train? That would 
mean dereliction, court-martial, disgrace* 
He dared not think further. The train was 
too slow. He would fly. This assignment 
meant everything. 

Eight hours and three traffic tickets later, 
Graves jumped out of a cab, grabbed his 
suitcase, and dashed for the waiting plane. 
Hurrah! He had made it. Now the war could 

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Fort Sam Houiton in May 1942. The 2nd Division lino* up for leriew. 

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Fort Sam Houston the next day did not 
look at all like the place to give birth to 
such a whirlwind organization as the Third 
Aux. In the hot afternoon sun the enor- 
mous drill-field was a vast empty space. 
Soldiers moved with a matter-of-factness 
that was strangely inconsistent with the 
occasion, "Muse be to deceive the enemy," 
was Graves' reaction and without further 
speculation he ordered his cab to take him 
to the hospital. He closed his eyes and re- 
hearsed what he was going to say: ''Cap- 
tain Graves reporting for duty with the 
Third Auxiliary Surgical Group." Then the 
adjutant would jump up and say: "Yes, 
Captain. We have been expecting you. Here 
are your orders. You sail next Monday/* 
How exciting! 

The cab drew up at the and 
Graves bounced out, A sergeant was on duty 

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at the information desk: 

"Third Auxiliary Surgical Group? Never 
heard of it, Captain. Maybe the O.D. 

The O.D. consulted his file. 

"I don't see it on my record, Captain. 
Try the Adjutant." 

The Hospital Adjutant scratched his 

"Sorry, Captain. The Post Adjutant may 
be able to help you." 

The Post Adjutant was emphatic, 

"Now wait a minute, Captain. I have 
been in this man's Army a long time and I 
never even heard of an auxiliary surgical 

Third Army Headquarters was next. 

"Third Auxill— Third Auxilla— . Well, 
anyway, we don't have it here.** 

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That left only one place, Corps Area Serv- 
ice Command. Wearily, Graves pursued 
this last remaining clue. He drew a blank. 
The Third Aux was a phantom, a mirage, 
a figment in the minds of the men at the 

Actually, there was someone at Fort Sam 
Houston who knew all about the Third Aux 
and a very important person he was: none 
other than Lieutenant Colonel J. Fred Blatt, 
commanding officer of the organization. An 
eminently practical man, he knew that in 
the Army it does not always pay to be in- 
quisitive. While Captain Graves scoured the 
Post for a scent, Blatt was relaxing at the 
Officers Club. It was not until the next day 
that the two men met, quite by accident. 

The same thing that happened to Captain 
Graves on his first day at Fort Sam Houston 
happened to a hundred other Third Auxers 
during the next six months. Always the 

same urgency about the orders* Always the 
same headlong rush. Always the same sober- 
ing reception. The only difference in the 
welcoming routine was that the sergeant at 
the information desk would no longer just 
raise his eyebrows. Instead, he would say 
with an air of authority: "The Third Aux? 
Oh yes* That's that crazy outfit over by 
the water tower.*' Deflated, the new recruits 
would find a nondescript organization with 
an obscure past, a nebulous present, and an 
uncertain future. The Third Aux had a long 
way to go. 

Be that as it may, on 7 May 1942 the 
Third Aux was nothing but a bedraggled, 
homeless, ridiculously inconspicuous little 
cluster of two officers and six enlisted men 
and it was destined to remain that way for 
many weeks. If the War Department had 
been in a great hurry with the activation, 
it was in just as much hurry to forget all 
about the "crazy outfit.'* What was an aux- 
iliary surgical group anyway? No one knew 
because such a group had never been in exis- 
tence before. The Medico-Military Manual, 
otherwise a bible of information, dismissed 
the subject with two short paragraphs. It 
spoke vaguely about the First World War, 
mentioned a table of organization dating 
back to 1926, and theorized about the use 
of surgical teams in the zone of communica- 
tions. About all that could be determined 
was that the Third Aux would operate under 
Table of Organization 8/J12. This table 
called for 58 surgical teams and a headquar- 
ters section. Each team was to have three 
medical officers, a nurse, and two enlisted 
men. The teams were as follows: 
24 general surgical teams 
6 splint teams 
shock teams 

Colonel Blatt, Picture tohtn at 5hu4borouah 
Pork, England in Navamb*r 1943- 

gas teams 

maxillofacial teams 
neurosurgical teams 
thoracic surgical teams 
miscellaneous teams 

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A slight modification after the Group 
was overseas (T/O 8/571) added three den- 
tal teams and fixed the number of officers 
at 132, nurses at 70, and enlisted men at 176. 

But how was this Group to operate? 
Would the teams go to the front or stay at 
the base? Would they be independent units 
or helpless appendages? Would they do im- 
portant work or would they be merely tol- 
erated? These were the questions that assailed 
Colonel Blatc and Captain Graves and there 
was no answer. 

In the absence of any palpable leads, the 
little group tackled the job of housekeeping. 
There had to be an office, there had to be a 
mess s there had to be transportation, and 
there had to be billets. The billeting officer 
put the Third Aux where he thought it be- 
longed: in a barracks housing the riot squad! 

Thii it where the Third Aux let up shop with 
two officers and si* enlisted men. 

Here, Colonel Blatt and Captain Graves took 
the first steps towards shaping the Third 
Aux, steps that were all but ground out by 
the noise of trains outside and GI profanity 
inside. It was too much. After two days, 
Colonel Blatt importuned the Post Adjutant 
to give up an unused mess hall in the Bach- 
elor Officers* Quarters. On 9 May the Third 
Aux proudly took possession of its new 
home. And, except for the steaming atmos- 
phere and the extraordinary number of flies, 
it was a reasonably happy home. 

The first official act was to appoint Cap- 
tain Graves executive officer, adjutant, per- 
sonnel officer, plans and training officer, sup- 
ply officer, agent finance officer, summary 
court officer, transportation officer, detach- 
ment commander, and fund custodian. At 
that, his duties consisted of little more than 
to scan the mail, sign the roster, shoot the 
bull, pass the buck, write through channels, 
and keep a copy. 

The second official act was to attach the 
enlisted men for quarters and rations to an 
organization that was already a going con- 
cern: the 1 6th Evacuation Hospital. 

The third official act was to write a letter 
to the War Department and ask what it was 
all about. The answer was somewhat dis- 
appointing. For instance, Colonel Blatt 
wanted to know about organizational equip- 
ment. An evacuation hospital with less per- 
sonnel than an auxiliary surgical group 
draws enough stuff to fill fifty trucks. The 
Third Aux drew not even a table of allow- 
ances. Apparently, the powers considered 
this a matter that could be adjusted later. 
It never was. Until the very end, Third 
Auxers lived in borrowed tents, rode in bor- 
rowed trucks, and cooked on borrowed 

The Fort Sam Quartermaster came to the 
rescue. Somewhere in fine print it said that 
an auxiliary surgical group could have three 
cars and three trucks. Colonel Blatt relaxed. 
Never again did the Third Aux have so 
much transportation for so few people. 

Those first six weeks were discouraging 
indeed. There was a first sergeant but there 
were no men to drill. There was a supply 
sergeant but there were no supplies to store. 
There was a mess sergeant but there was no 
mess to run. There was a cook but there was 
no food to cook. There was a cook's helper 
but there was no cook to help. So every- 
body helped everybody else do nothing. 
Third Auxers lived in a vacuum and it was 
hard to take at a time when the Japs had 

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overrun the Philippines, when the Germans 
were threatening Cairo, and when the Rus- 
sians were hanging on by the skin of their 

And then, on one particularly hot and 
idle afternoon towards the end of June, 
Colonel Blatt picked up the mail and 
jumped. "Hooray," he said, "we're off." The 
reason for this unusual outburst was that 
a new officer had been assigned to the Group. 
He was Captain Kenneth Smith who made 
his appearance on 25 June. Barely had he 
settled down when six more officers fol- 
lowed him in rapid succession. They were 
Major Watkins A. Broyles, Major W. A. 
Millington, Captain Q Harold Avent (now 
deceased) , Lieutenant Oscar B. Snider, Lieu- 
tenant Benjamin G. Bauerle, and Major 
Clarence E. Snow. Captain Smith became 
an understudy for Captain Graves. The 
others went on detached service at the Sta- 
tion Hospital Later, when the Group was 
being groomed for overseas duty, these men 
came back to Headquarters to help with 
the readying process. 

On 1 July another big event occurred: 
the first shipment of enlisted men arrived. 
There were twenty-one of them and they 
looked mighty good to the critical eyes of 
Colonel Blatt and Captain Graves. Tn no 
time at all they had been processed, tested, 
classified, and billeted. Some went to the 
school for medical technicians, some to the 
school for cooks and bakers, and the rest 
were quickly transformed into drivers, 
mechanics, clerks, and orderlies. Now for 
the first time it was possible to make up 
schedules and start training. Slowly the 
Third Aux was taking shape. 

One of the great problems at that time 
and for the next two years was how to train 
technicians without equipment. These men 
who came from the farms, the shops, and 
the high schools of America were going to 
work in an operating room some day. How 
to get them ready? The school for tech- 

nicians at Fort Sam Houston did a creditable 
job but it suffered from lack of teaching 
material. It was all very well for a man to 
listen to a lecture on anatomy or malaria 
control but that did not teach him how to 
set up a sterile table. Therefore, as soon as 
the Chief Nurse, Lieutenant Anna Moline, 
reported for duty she was asked to organize 
a practical course. By dividing the students 
into small groups, she was able to rotate 
them through the utility rooms, the oper- 
ating rooms, the sterilizing rooms, the sur- 
gical wards, and all the other departments 
of a hospital. The graduates of this course 
became valuable instructors when the Group 
was on its own overseas. 

During those long, hot summer months 
in the arid country of southern Texas, life 
for Third Auxers alternated between great 
excitement and utter boredom. It was a 
time when everybody was completely in the 
dark and when every opinion, no matter 
how wild or unreasonable, became a subject 
for heated argument. There were the serious 
ones and the lighthearted ones, the worriers 
and the jokers, the introverts and the extro- 
verts. At the mesSj the conversation would 
run about like this: 

"Say, fellow, did you hear the latest? 
We're sailing next week and they are going 
to give us those damned life-preservers that 
make you turn upside down in the water so 
you drown like a rat. I heard about them 
from my brother." 

"Holy mackerel! You don't mean it, do 
you? Why, that's plain murder! But we 
won't all have to sail, will wc? I heard that 
men over thirty-seven can stay home." 

"Hell no! The old guys will be sacrificed 
first. The War Department figures that the 
young people are more valuable. But you 
might get to fly." 

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"Well, I don't know if that's much bet- 
ter. I think I'll turn in at the hospital. 1 had 
asthma once." 

"No use, fellow. They've got your num- 
ber. At the Pentagon they already call us 
the suicide squad." 

At other times there was real reason for 
consternation. The telephone call that came 
in one Saturday afternoon when everybody 
had gone for the weekend was enough to 
give any commanding officer the jitters. The 
call came from the Quartermaster at Fort 
Sam Houston* 

"Helloj is this the Third Auxiliary Sur- 
gical Group?" 


"I've got orders here to equip you for 
immediate shipment overseas. You've got 
A-l priority." 


"That's what it says here. You are to get 
full field equipment plus an extra issue of 
dust respirators, sun goggles, tropical hel- 
mets, mosquito bars, and quinine." 

"But we haven't got anybody here to 
equip* We have exactly ten officers and forty 
men. You don't mean that they are going 
to send us at ten per cent strength, do you?" 

"Well, that's what it says here. Better send 
your trucks over right away." 

What had happened? It was all a little 
matter of confusing the Third Aux with 
the Second Aux, The War Department at 
this time was making preparations for the 
invasion of North Africa and the plans 
called for several surgical teams. The Sec- 
ond Aux, which had been activated at Law- 
son General Hospital a few weeks before 
the Third Aux, was selected to supply 
these teams. Somebody in Washington had 
switched the numbers and sent the orders 
to the wrong address! It was as simple as 
that but before the error was discovered, 
there were a lot of people at Fort Sam who 
tore their hair and gnashed their teeth. The 

Gcnaral Fred Rankin. Chief of ProftttHmal S*rvic«* 

Second Aux teams left the country in Sep- 
tember and landed in North Africa on 11 

The Third Aux had hardly subsided into 
its now natural somnolence when there came 
a real dust-raiser: a telegram from the War 
Department instructing Colonel Blatt to 
report to the Chief of Professional Services 
in Washington for the selection of officer 
personnel. This was on 3 September. 

The country had now been at war almost 
nine months. Thousands of medical officers 
had been called into service. Each officer had 
filled out a questionnaire* The evaluation of 
these questionnaires took much time, and 
while this was going on, the officers were 
put in cold storage in medical pools all over 
the country. When Colonel Blatt arrived in 
Washington, he found some 30,000 ques- 
tionnaires already on file* 

The Third Aux needed 48 completely 
trained, vigorous, young surgeons, 48 as- 
sistants to these surgeons, and 48 expert 
anesthetists. To select these, Colonel Blatt 
had many conferences with General Rankin 
who was then Chief of Professional Services. 
It was a big job, a job that could make or 
break the Third Aux* Time proved that 
Colonel Blatt used good judgment. When he 

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returned to Fort Sam Houston he had with 
him a tentative roster of men who became 
the backbone of the organization, men who 
carried on from the very beginning till the 
very end t men who went through three 
invasions and seven campaigns^ men who 
combined professional maturity with youth- 
ful enthusiasm. In age, they ranged between 
thirty and forty-five and in experience they 
represented the best that America had to 
offer These were the front-line surgeons of 
the Second World War. 

The pool system was undoubtedly the best 
way of fitting every man into his niche, but 
it did have its vagaries. Men from the east- 
ern part of the country would be sent to 
pools in California, from there to the Third 
Aux in Texas, and then back to New York 
for embarkation. Typical of these was Lieu- 
tenant Friedman. Snatched from his home on 
Riverside Drive in New York City on 1 5 
November, he was dispatched to the pool 
at Santa Barbara, California. He had barely 
arrived when he was transferred to the Third 
Aux in San Antonio. At Fort Sam he was 
just in time to get on the train for Camp 
Kilmer and on 1 December he found him- 
self back in New York, When the Queen 
Mary cast loose, Friedman had traveled 8,000 
miles to get from 1 16th Street to 59th Street, 
a distance of about three miles. 

On 27 September, the Third Aux had 1 1 
officers. On 27 November when it left for 
Camp Kilmer it had 119. At Camp Kilmer 
10 more officers joined to bring the total 
to 129. These 129 officers came from every 
State in the Union. They brought with them 
fresh ideas and they exchanged information 
at every opportunity. These men learned 
from each other and the experience was tre- 
mendously stimulating. The Third Aux was 
a great melting pot. 

Keeping pace was a rapid build-up in en- 
listed men. The first contingent arrived on 
1 July and came from Camp Barkley, Be- 
tween 1 July and 26 November, a half 

dozen packets joined. They came from 
Camp Barkley, Camp Robinson, Camp 
Pickett, the Beaumont General Hospital, 
and the 56th Evacuation Hospital, Alto- 
gether, the enlisted strength on the day the 
Group left Fort Sam was 176. Six men had 
to be dropped at the staging area so that the 
final strength on sailing was 170. 

As more and more men joined the organ- 
ization, Major Graves gradually gave up 
his multitudinous assignments and concen- 
trated on Plans and Training, First, Captain 
Smith became Adjutant. This lasted only 
until he was sent to Edgewood Arsenal for 
a course in gas warfare. Then Major Harry 
P. Harper, who later was to become Execu- 
tive Officer, took over as Adjutant, The 
other assignments were as follows: 
Mess Officer: Captain Clarence J, Hudson. 
Supply Officer: Lieutenant Rocco A. Telia. 
Finance Officer: Captain William S. Maley. 
Detachment Commander: Major Watkins 

A. Broyles. 
Transportation Officer: Lieutenant Oscar B. 

Intelligence Officer; Lieutenant Benjamin A. 

Plans and Training Officer: Major Clifford 

L, Graves, 

By 12 October, the officer strength was 
56. This was considered enough to start a 
training program. Major Graves evolved a 
course of great practical interest. Rather 
than adhere rigidly to prescribed subjects, 
he decided to include any material that 
might be useful to men at the front. The 
course lasted six weeks during which Third 
Auxers saw the Army '*as she is," 

The introduction was a talk on the fun- 
damental fighting unit, namely the infantry 
division. Officers from each representative 
unit within the division then illustrated how 
they accomplished their mission. An infan- 
try captain showed the weapons of the foot 
soldier, first in the classroom and then in the 

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field. After this, Third Auxers attended an 
exciting demonstration on the range where 
an entire infantry company fired all its 
weapons, first singly and then in unison. The 
300 rifles going off at once y the ricochet of 
tracer bullets, the sharp snap of mortar 
shells, the lightning-quick motions of the 
crews, the flaming targets, these gave Third 
Auxers a healthy respect for what an infan- 
try company can do. 

The same sort of. teaching was used for 
Division Artillery. A medium howitzer bat- 
talion was chosen as an example. After lis- 
tening to a preliminary talk, Third Auxers 
went to Camp Bullis and deployed them- 
selves at the firing position. It was a dreary 
afternoon but as soon as the four trucks, 
each with an 18,000 pound field*piece in 
tow, appeared on the scene, the spectators 
forgot all about the threatening rain. Within 
a few minutes of their arrival, the gunners 
were in position. Third Auxers were amazed 
that they could actually see the shells sail- 
ing through the air. They went to the for- 
ward observation post. By this time a drizzle 
had started, but not a single man elected to 
stay in the truck when the voice came over 
the telephone: "On the way!" Seconds later 
the shells appeared overhead and burst into 
flame on the target. Later on, the sound of 
these same howitzers became only too famil- 
iar to Third Auxers because in the combat 
zone, field hospitals are in front of the guns. 
To know that each shell is always carefully 
tagged is a source of satisfaction or anguish, 
depending on where a man is. 

There were no tanks at Fort Sam Houston 
but the San Antonio Arsenal had plenty of 
them. Every Third Auxcr got inside the tur- 
ret and rode around the testing ground, an 
experience that made him fully cognizant 
of what a tank driver goes through. When 
these same tank drivers were brought to the 
field hospitals in Europe, Third Auxers 
understood why the wounds were of the 
most devastating kind. 

When it came to medical service in the 
field, the Third Aux instructors had very 
little to go by. Nobody yet knew where the 
teams would work. Existing manuals were 
little help. The only guide was the interest- 
ing book "Field Surgery in Total War" by 
Major Jolly, a New Zealander who had 
gained his experience in the Spanish Civil 
War. In this book Major Jolly explained the 
three-point-forward system which was 
eventually copied by the Americans. The 
words three-point-forward refer to the three 
kinds of hospitals that are needed in the line 
of evacuation, namely a small forward hos- 
pital for severely wounded, a larger inter- 
mediate hospital for all other wounded, and 
a still larger base hospital for definitive care. 
Third Auxers discussed this book from every 

To give the men an idea of medical in- 
stallations in the field Major Graves asked 
the 2nd Division to put on demonstrations. 
Third Auxers saw battalion aid stations, col- 
lecting stations, and clearing stations and 
they learned about the problems of evacua- 
tion in the combat zone It was their intro- 
duction to a subject that was to occupy all 
their energies. 

At this time the 2nd Division went 
through airborne maneuvers. Third Auxers 
participated. These maneuvers made such a 
profound impression on the men that when 
the airborne divisions sent out a call for 
volunteer surgical teams shortly before the 
Normandy invasion Third Auxers rose mag- 
nificently to the occasion. Their experiences 
form one of the most exciting chapters in 
the history of the Group. 

Army training programs lay great stress 
on physical hardening and road marches, 
two features that are not exactly popular 
with medical men. However, here too Major 
Graves had a solution. He substituted horse- 
back rides for the weekly road marches! 
Every Wednesday morning the Third Aux 
would go for a canter. The rides continued 


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until one fine morning when Major Haynes 
drew an exceptionally frisky mare and was 
thrown from his galloping mount in front 
of the house of the Commanding General, 
Haynes suffered a minor concussion and the 
General sent word that the Third Aux was 
a surgical group, not a cavalry group. From 
then on, Third Auxers marched. 

It can be seen that the program was not 
only highly practical but also had its lighter 
moments, When one of the officers remarked 
that the course had been complete except 
for the parachute jump, a note appeared on 
the bulletin board with the following an- 


Because of our peculiar mission as itinerant 
surgeons, we may be called upon at any time 
to travel by plane over unknown territory. 
Emergency landings should be anticipated. 
To teach every man of this organization how 
to orient himself on the surface of the globe 
by ctrk-iiial observation „ an instructor from the 
Hundo School for Aerial Navigation will hold 
a special class next Tuesday. His words may 
save our lives some dav. 

The class was held as scheduled but the 
notice had some unexpected by-products. 
Intended mainly to stimulate interest, it 
created trepidation in not a few and even 
led one man to seek admission to the hos- 
pital. Others reacted exactly the opposite 
and sent copies home to prove that they 
belonged to a blood -and -thunder outfit. The 
only Third Auxer actually to profit from 
the class was Captain Serbst. In the spring 
of 1945 Serbst escaped from the prison camp 
at Hammelburg and found his way to the 
American lines "by the stars." 

As the Group grew in size, Colonel Blatt 
had to cast about for larger quarters. At 
first, the officers could easily be accommo- 
dated in the BOQ but towards the end of 
September the 2nd Division returned from 
maneuvers and its numerous company-grade 
officers quickly overflowed the buildings. 
Fort Sam had been built on the orthodox 
premise that the Army hns about one officer 
to ten enlisted men. The Third Aux fell 
completely out of line. It actually had more 
officers than men! Nothing like it had ever 


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Dodd Field, a dreary tent camp of World War I vintage 

been seen before. The billeting officer threw 
up his hands. There just wasn't lebemraum 
for the Third Aux. 

The only solution was to repair to Dodd 
Field, a dreary tent-camp of World War I 
vintage. Third Auxers had eyed it with sus- 
picion from the beginning because they all 
realized that eventually those drafty tents 
and dusty streets would become home to 
them. The move took place in September for 
the enlisted men and somewhat later for the 
officers. Not all of them embraced the 
rugged hospitality with patriotic enthusi- 
asm. San Antonio had a fine hotel, the St. 
Anthony. For a long time after the Group 
was overseas, Third Auxers took a vicarious 
pleasure in recounting its air-conditioned 

There was another reason why Dodd Field 
quickly became a source of irritation: it was 
more than two miles from the main Post, 
To get from Headquarters to Dodd Field a 
man had to tramp for forty minutes over a 
rough, graveled road that exacted its toll in 

sprained ankles and ruined shoes. The only 
man to cope successfully with this obstacle 
was Major Graves who bumped along on his 
bicycle at all hours of the day. 

Towards the middle of November the 
bomb burst. The Third Aux was alerted. 
Headquarters became a beehive. Officers 
were arriving in droves. An assembly line 
was organized. The newcomers were inter- 
viewed by Colonel Blatt, welcomed by 
Major Graves, processed by their fellows, 
fingerprinted, radiated, ultra viol a ted, drawn, 
and quartered. Nothing was left to the 
imagination. Captain Avent took care of the 
immunization records, the dog tags, the eye 
glasses, the blood-type cards* and the iden- 
tification cards. Sergeant Brattesani had the 
allotment forms and the insurance blanks. 
Captain Serbst handled the classification 
cards. Major Haynes was in charge of the 
emergency addressee cards, the safe-arrival 
cards, and the locator cards. Major Snow 
rook care of the baggage stencils. Lieutenant 
Telia busied himself with supplies and equi- 
page. Captain Maley had the pay vouchers, 


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the pay-data cards, the travel-and-uniform 

allowances, the last-will-and testament, and 
the power-of-attorney blanks. Everything 
but the last rites. 

But this was not all. Soon the Third Aux 
would be roughing it. Everyone knew it and 
everyone wanted to be prepared. The Quar- 
termaster supplied the basic items such as 
the pup tent, the mosquito bar, the bedding 
roll, the suspender belt, the meat pan, the 
mess kit, the canteen, and the first-aid 
pouch. But these were only bare necessities. 
A man had to have a sleeping bag, an air 
mattress, a valpak. Each time someone 
showed up at Headquarters with one of these 
articles, there would be a run on the Post 
Exchange by a hundred others. The next day 
it might be a canvas water dipper, a bowie 
knife, a money belt, a compass, an identifica- 
tion bracelet, a Zippo lighter, or a Burberry 
coat. Again there would be a Px invasion. 
The line of reasoning ran from the sublime 

to the ridiculous. Captain Stoller stuck his 
Harvard Reader next to his gas mask and 
Captain Sutton inquired solemnly: "I won- 
der if I should take a pillow?" Some men 
laid in a three months' supply of soap, others 
a six months' supply of candy, and still 
others a year's supply of tobacco. Hour-long 
discussions arose on what was useful and 
what was useless, until the standard greeting 
became not "How are you?" but "What did 
you buy today?" 

Of course, all this equipment had to be 
packed. The only container large enough 
was the bedding roll which also provided 
room for GI underwear, heavy overalls, 
high-top shoes, woolen blankets, a pup tent, 
a mosquito bar, a mattress cover, and odds 
and ends. Just to roll the giant sausage took 
three men: one to pound, one to pull, and 
one to roll. Carrying it was completely out 
of the question. A few Third Auxers even- 
tually learned to subdue the monster, but 

San Antonio hotels. 

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for the majority it always remained a source 
of despair. Ruth Maher put it this way: 


Ye mighty piece of canvas 
You've intrigued my every art 
And taxed my ingenuity 
Even though you play a part. 

I've packed your pockets full of soap 
And food and other stuff. 
Then, when I think the job's complete 
I find it's not enough. 

I've juggled shoes and hats and shirts 
And HBT's to wear 
Then find that I've forgotten 
That GI underwear, 

I've pulled and pushed and struggled 
With GI straps galore 
And when I think it's good and tight 
There's something on the floor. 

A GI shoe that's fallen out 
And so again I start 
Apushing and apulling 
Till I'm master of the art. 

And so I strive to do the job 
But the question that I place: 
"Will I be line-of-duty yes 
If I fall dead upon my face?" 

If Third Auxers thought that their bed- 
ding roll was a headache, Colonel Blatt had 
an even bigger headache with the organiza- 
tional equipment, The Third Aux had no 
table of allowances. Officially it was a pau- 
per. Could this extraordinary organization 
go overseas empty-handed? Colonel Blatt 
thought no. He went into a huddle with 
the Quartermaster, Scanning the tables of 
equipment for more conventional units, 

these men estimated how much of each item 
would probably be required by an auxiliary 
surgical group. The result was imposing* if 
extravagant. When everything had been 
packed and stacked, there were no less than 
sixty crates with everything from detectors, 
vesicant, liquid, to curtains, proof, gas. Lieu- 
tenant Telia was overwhelmed. His job was 
to safeguard al! this property. It was love's 
labor lost. Of the sixty boxes, less than 
twenty arrived overseas. The other forty 
now rest on the bottom of the Atlantic 

Lieutenant Telia's tenure as supply officer 
was punctuated by another fiasco. At Fort 
Sam he drew some two hundred chairs for 
use in the class room. In the normal course of 
events, these chairs would have been re- 
turned to the warehouse when the Third 
Aux left> but in the general hurly-burly of 
the last few days, there was no time. Cer- 
tainly, there were more important things to 
worry about than two hundred chairs that 
were no good to anybody in the footloose 
Third Aux. On the day of departure Telia 
simply signed a memorandum receipt and 
promptly forgot all about the chairs. 

But not the Quartermaster. When he 
came to balance his books at the end of the 
year, the memorandum receipt was missing. 
Slowly the wheels began to turn, A letter 
was dispatched. It went to England, It went 
to North Africa. It went to Sicily. And it 
was delivered to Lieutenant Telia in the 
first mail to reach the front. While his team- 
mates enthusiastically discussed the latest 
news from home, Telia was treated to the 
information that his chairs were lost in 
action and that he would be held account- 
able to the tune of $1400. He immediately 
penned an endorsement which stated in dig- 
nified language that his main concern at that 
moment was to dodge shells and not to re- 
trieve chairs! This stopped the Fort Sam 
sleuths dead in their tracks. Nothing was 
ever heard from them again. 


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The Group was now rapidly nearing the 
end of its stay at Fort Sam. On 1 5 Novem- 
ber the Third Aux was alerted. The date 
of departure was set for early in December, 
Wiseacres said: "Don't get excited. It will 
be months before we get going. Why, I 
know a unit that didn't leave for six months 
after it was alerted!" A few days later the 
alert was indeed cancelled and the same 
men said: "You see! I told you sol" They 
wired wives to come down. They rented 
houses and apartments for the season. They 
hung onto cars that had already been prom- 
ised to would-be buyers. Everybody settled 
down for a winter in Texas, 

Then came the devastating news: You 
move on 27 November! That gave just two 
days to get ready. To understand what it 
meant, one must realize that at this stage 
the Group was still onfy partly organized. 
Enlisted strength was less than half of what 
it should be. New officers were arriving 
every hour. Many of those already assigned 
were away on detached service. Third Aux- 
ers were scattered between San Antonio and 
Boston, How to get all these people back in 

Wires buzzed. Telephones jangled. Tele- 
type messages flew back and forth. Police 
in a dozen States were put on the lookout 
for Third Auxers. Lieutenant Spritzer was 
one of those who made it. He was in St, 
Louis, taking a course in chest surgery. 
When the alert sounded, he had just left on 
a hurried trip to his home in New Jersey. 
In Columbus, Ohio he suddenly decided that 
it might be a good idea to call home. The 
news hit him like a ton of bricks. He turned 
his car around, gave her the gun, and raced 
non-stop to San Antonio, 

Captain Smith was one of those who did 
not make it. He was at Edgewood Arsenal, 
studying chemical warfare. Edgewood Ar- 
senal is near Philadelphia. A hard-boiled ad- 
jutant refused to honor Smith's telegraphed 
orders. Precious hours were lost in verifica- 

tion. Finally Smith got on a train that 
arrived in San Antonio six hours after the 
Third Aux had left. He barely had time to 
say good-by to his family, draw his field 
equipment, and sell his car. Then he was off 
again for a place that was about forty miles 
from where he started! 

And then there were the men who had 
just installed their families in San Antonio. 
And the men who found themselves with 
cars that they could not get rid of. And the 
wives who were left stranded with cars they 
could not drive. And the wife who arrived 
in San Antonio from California two hours 
before train time and kept right on tdl she 
got to New York. And the officer who was 
transferred on the day of departure but mis- 
interpreted his orders in the confusion. He 
became a technical AWOL. It was an end- 
less string of conflicts, misunderstandings, 
dilemmas, and cross-ups. 

But these entanglements were picayune 
compared with the difficulties that con- 
fronted Headquarters. Communications 
were painfully slow. Trucks and cars had 
been turned in. Telephones worked only 
spasmodically. A shipment of one hundred 
enlisted men arrived at midnight on 26 No- 
vember and had to be processed on the spot. 
There were bedding rolls to be stenciled, 
bills to be settled, belongings to be disposed 
of T funds to be converted, inventories to be 
made, quarters to be vacated, and rosters to 
be completed. It was a Thanksgiving Day 
no Third Auxer will ever forget. 

Train time was set for two o'clock. As the 
time drew nearer, the pressure increased. 
The same office that had lain dormant all 
summer now became a scene of feverish 
activity. Clerks worked frantically over ros- 
ters. The new adjutant, Lieutenant Penter- 
man, fussed and fumed about missing service 
records. Captain Hudson called nil over 
town to find a butcher with half a ton of 
meat for sale, Colonel Blatt argued with two 


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At neon the officer* began to gather et the railroad aiding. Captain and Mis. Hoffman, Major 
Church, Lieutenant Privitera, Captain and Mr*. Soderttrom, Captain Moloney. 

excited officials from the Transportation 
Corps, A work party dismantled the office 
piece by piece. Filing cabinets, stacks of 
paper, folding chairs, field desks, strong 
boxes, everything that was not actually 
nailed down was carted out with screens 
slamming, floors creaking, and men groan- 
ing. And over it all hung Sergeant Johnson's 
motto; "The difficult we do right away; the 
impossible takes a little longer." 

At noon the officers began to gather at 
the railroad siding, accompanied by wives, 
relatives, friends, and well-wishers. Some 
were cheerful, many were tearful. After all, 
this farewell might be the last one. Next, 
Lieutenant Moline appeared on the scene. 

She was accompanied by two newly assigned 
nurses: Merle L. Harper and Edythe E, Mac- 
Donald. At one o'clock the detachment 
marched up, smartly led by Major Broyles, 
Well might he be proud of his men. With 
full field pack, steel helmet, gas mask, and 
entrenching tool, they looked like fighting 
soldiers. This was the day when every man 
felt that he was coming to the aid of bis 

At a quarter to two, a mud-caked sedan 
drove up. Out stepped Lieutenant Osteen. 
Osceen was not due until the next day but, 
being an eager beaver, he had decided to 
report "a little early/* His diligence was 
richly rewarded. When he drove into Fort 


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Sam and asked where the Third Aux was, 
he was told: "At the railroad siding. If you 
hurry you can just catch them," Osteen re- 
packed his baggage, signed the necessary 
papers, kissed his wife good-by, and got on 
the train, all in ten minutes. Never was a 
transformation accomplished more expedi- 

Meanwhile Colonel Blatt was biting his 
lips* The roll call showed two of his best 
officers missing. He argued with himself and 
with the dispatcher. Could the Third Aux 
afford to wait? The train schedule had been 
worked out to the last minute. At the other 
end of the line the Queen Mary was wait- 
ing. Delay might wreck the whole itinerary. 
No, there was not a moment to be lost. The 
conductor lifted his arm. The engineer blew 
his whistle* Slowly the twelve-car train be- 
gan to move. 

But wait, who was this, running down 
the road as fast as his spindly legs would 
carry him? Would he make it? For a mo- 
ment the issue was in doubt. Then the train 
slowed down a little and under tremendous 
cheers Major Hatt swung aboard. His was 
the all-time record. At ten o*clock he had 
asked for overseas duty; at two he was on 
the way. 

Then a most extraordinary thing hap- 
pened. The train was going through a grade 
crossing at which a jeep had pulled up. In 
the jeep was a brand-new Third Auxer, 
Captain Whitsitt* He had arrived that same 
morning and had reported to Colonel Blatt 
when the confusion was at its height* Be- 
deviled with a dozen tasks, Colonel Blatt 
had sent Whitsitt to get clearance for the 
Group. At a post as large as Fort Sam s this 
was a big job. It meant going to all the 
places where Third Auxers might have out- 
standing debts. Whitsitt started out with the 
enthusiasm of a man who is on his first 
important military mission, 

Whitsitt was afoot. As long as he was on 
the main campus he did well enough but 

when it came to the outlying offices he began 
to lose out. Several times he had to retrace 
his steps. From the Officers* Club to the 
laundry. From the laundry to the Post Ex- 
change, From the Post Exchange to the Hos- 
pital library. From the Hospital library to 
the Post library. From the Post library to 
the filling station* From the filling station 
to the commissary. From the commissary to 
the Quartermaster, And that was as far as 
he got* Try as he might, he could not re- 
member where to go next. He hailed a jeep. 
"Corporal, take me to the Third Aux." 
"Third Aux? Where's that, Captain?" 
"Over there," said Whitsitt, motioning 

The jeep started up. Whitsitt looked at 
his watch. Ten minutes after two. He'd 
better hurry back* "Step on it, corporal*" 
The jeep gathered speed, only to be forced 

First Sergeant Robert T. Nelson. 


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to a halt at a grade crossing. A train was 
coming around the bend. Annoyed, Whit- 
sitt settled back. No use getting run over- 
He lighted a cigarette and checked his list 
for the umteenth time. 

The locomotive rumbled past. Whitsitt 
glanced up. "Wish that engineer would 
hurry up," he said to himself, putting his 
papers in his pocket. Then he looked more 
closely. Weren't those the same faces he had 
seen that morning? Suddenly he recognized 
Colonel Blatt. Ye Gods — this was the Third 
Aux train! "Stop!" he yelled at the top of 
his voice, jumping out of the jeep and 

clutching his musette bag which was his only 
possession at the moment. But the engineer 
paid him no heed. He probably never even 
saw Whitsitt. One by one, the cars rolled by. 
It was a moment of agonizing suspense. 

Then Whitsitt took matters in his own 
hands. He threw his musette bag to the 
ground, pushed a protesting brakeman 
aside, grabbed the railing of the last car, and 
shinned himself aboard with an agility that 
would have done credit to Errol Flynn. 

The Third Aux was orf with a Hollywood 

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Troop movements in wartime are secret 
but it was no secret to Third Auxers that 
their next stop was Camp Kilmer, staging 
area for the Port of New York. From San 
Antonio to New York is approximately two 
thousand miles, ordinarily a thirty-eight 
hour trip. The Third Aux Special took twice 
that. It meandered first north to Fort 
Worth, then east to Atlanta, and finally 
north again to Camp Kilmer* It was a jour- 
ney that started with exuberant patriotism 
and ended in dreary tedium. 

While most Third Auxers breathed a sigh 
of relief once the train was under way, 
Headquarters went to work as if nothing 
had happened. A vast amount of adminis- 
trative detail had to be attended to. Colonel 
Blatt surveyed the six Pullman cars, the six 
coaches, and the two freight cars. Then he 
allocated the space. The cooks took over the 
freight cars and started forthwith on the 
job of feeding three hundred people. The 
supply sergeant established himself in one 
of the coaches and issued clothing to the 
newly joined men. The train surgeon ar- 
ranged for a dispensary and carried on with 
the innumerable immunizations. The clerks 
moved their typewriters to the club car and 
hammered out service records. A board of 
senior officers began interviewing and classi- 
fying the professional personnel, Even the 
Intelligence officer had his moment of tri- 
umph when he nabbed a man who tried to 
get a letter mailed in Shreveport. Such was 

the tension that the culprit was considered 
little better than a traitor and his trial was 
carried out in great secrecy. But New York 
taxi drivers knew all about the Queen Mary, 
When Mrs. Soderstrom and Mrs. Maloney 
got off the train at Grand Central station a 
few days later, their cab driver wagged: 
"Well, ladies, I see that you are here to see 
your men folk off on the Queen Mary* She'll 
be shoving off in a couple of days." 

During the first half of the train ride 
Third Auxers amused themselves with card 
games, song fests, small talk, and short 
snorts. Gradually the landscape changed 
from the sunny South to the snowy East. A 
chill settled, literally and figuratively. The 
song birds got hoarse, the card sharks lost 
interest, and the short snorters ran out of 
dollar bills. Washington, Baltimore, and 
Philadelphia were just so many dank and 
dreary railroad stations. Impatiently the men 
looked out for a sigh of Camp Kilmer. 
Nothing even remotely resembling a camp 
showed up and when the train finally coasted 
to a stop the only human habitation within 
sight was a freight house. Third Auxers 
stretched their aching limbs, adjusted their 
packs, and stepped down into the melting 
snow. It was eleven o'clock on the morning 
of 30 November, 

When Third Auxers talk about their three 
years in the Army they always mention 
Camp Kilmer as the place they would least 
like to revisit. Located in a desolate section 


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of New Jersey, Kilmer offered absolutely 
nothing to make life bearable. Long rows of 
barracks stretched dismally along unpaved 
streets that were either frozen solid or 
churned into mud. The camouflage was de- 
pressing. The Group was scattered over re- 
mote parts of the camp. The weather was 
abominable. Field shoes still needed break- 
ing in. Flannel underwear was either too 
warm or too cold. The chow was of the 
worst. The daily routine was exasperating. 
The day started at seven o'clock with roll 
call. Blue with cold or wet with rain> Third 
Auxers would line up in the company street 
to get instructions* They might hear that 
typhoid inoculations would get under way 
or that every man would draw a packet of 
sulfa pills or that the barracks were to be 
policed better or that there was no news but 
to stand by for news. Everybody went 
around in circles. To make matters worse, 
Third Auxers became acquainted with a 
group of brother medics who were in even 
greater distress. The Northwestern Univer- 
sity unit had been poised at Kilmer for weeks 

with numerous false starts and no progress, 
Weeks of this? God forbid. 

The only cheering event was the assign- 
ment of the nurses. There were sixty-seven 
of them, mostly from Michigan. They had 
missed the boat when the University of 
Michigan unit sailed a month earlier. Again, 
a processing line was set up but this time 
it operated in a dingy barracks room where 
a feeble light vainly tried to dispel the dark- 
ness. These women were introduced to the 
Third Aux in an atmosphere of uncertainty, 
discomfort, and frustration. If they were 
discouraged, they never showed it. 

On 3 December an advance detail left 
Kilmer to prepare the ground for the em- 
barkation on the Queen. On 7 December 
the news broke: We sail tonight! The Third 
Aux sprang into action. Hoarders made their 
last dash for the Post Exchange. Bedding 
rolls were tuned up for the last time. Letter 
writers wrote their last farewells. Drinking 
partners had their last toast. And at five 
o'clock the entire organization lined up. The 
officers wore their regulation overcoats. The 

Co pro in Horace Witliami get! rh« butinetl- 

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nurses wore their service blues. The enlisted 
men wore full field uniform. In the rapidly 
gathering dusk, the assembly stretched as 

far as the eye could see. Company 

attention! Was this the same outfit that had 
started in a cubbyhole at Fort Sam only 

seven months before? Forward march! 

The front line surgeons of World War II 
were marching off to battle. Column left 
march! Hitler, here we come. 

A light snow began to fall. Each man was 
engrossed in his thoughts. Every step was a 
step away from home, family, and friends. 

HUT, two, three, four Mentally, the 

ocean had been crossed not once but a dozen 
times, HUT, two, three four. All right . . 
. , . If this is war, let's get it over with. 

Out of the darkness loomed the waiting 
train, the windows blacked out, the steps 
marked by flickering lanterns. Silently, 
Third Auxers lined up. They had only one 
wish: to get on that train as quickly as pos- 
sible and leave Camp Kilmer far behind. 
Then, at this unlikely moment, a band 
struck up. Out of the half-frozen trumpets 
and clarinets came the strains of "From the 
Halls of Montezuma to the Shores of Trip- 
oli." Third Auxers felt a wave of patriot- 
ism. Did this big, impersonal camp really 
take an interest in them? Was there some- 
body to witness their great sacrifice? For 
a moment they stood transfixed. But this 
was no time for reflection. Urged on by the 
icy wind and the deepening snow, every- 
body sought the steps that led inside the 
warm train, Kilmer was a memory. 

Without further waiting, the train started 
on its run to Weehawken. Lights were low 
and conversations muffled. It was impossible 
to shake off the sinister implications of the 
moment. To relieve the tension, some of the 
men began telling funny stories. But it was 
a studied kind of light-heartedness. This was 
the time when a man reviewed his life and 
wrote fifth to a chapter. What would the 
next one bring? 

At ten o'clock the train pulled into the 
station. The ferry was in her slip. Everybody 
out! It was easier said than done. Now for 
the first time, every officer had to carry that 
valpak and the weight was enough to crush 
him. Handles snapped. Canvas ripped. Hel- 
mets dropped. Gas masks, musette bags, dis- 
patch cases, canteens, garrison caps, every- 
thing dangled in a state of utter disarray. 
One fellow snorted: "Would anybody mind 
carrying my false teeth?" Another blurted: 
"I couldn't possibly want all those articles 
that bad." 

The troops swarmed across the station 
platform and on to the ferry, Most of the 
men huddled inside to seek protection from 
the bitter cold, A few braved the icy blasts 
that blew across the harbor. They looked 
across the mouth of the Hudson to the 
southern tip of Manhattan, But it was not 
the Manhattan of yore. Gone were the 
myriads of lights, the flickering neon signs, 
the fantastic silhouette. Gone too were the 
brightly illuminated ferries that used to cast 
their glow over the water. The ferries were 
still there but they moved in silent, dark- 
ened motion. This was New York in the 
brown -out. 

A whistle blew. A gate swung shut. The 
ferry throbbed and inched its way out into 
the river. Before it had gone a hundred yards 
it was challenged by a foghorn in the dis- 
tance. The ferry answered with its own fog- 
horn and there ensued a sort of foghorn 
conversation to see who had the right of 
way. Apparently, the ferry lost and the 
other boat passed by like a shadow in the 
night. This same painful process was re- 
peated over and over again so that it took a 
full two hours to cover the distance from 
Weehawken to midtown Manhattan. And a 
very cold two hours for the men on deck. 

At Pier 90 Third Auxers had their first 
glimpse of the Queen Mary. There she was 
in majestic indifference while a dozen little 
boats scurried back and forth to feed her 


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hungry mouth. Even in her coat of wartime 
gray, she breathed affluence and splendor. 
Here was a ship that could transport an 
entire infantry division! No wonder Hitler 
had put a special prize on her head. 

The ferry tied up and disgorged its cargo. 
Again, long lines of struggling, panting, 
stumbling men streamed across the gang- 
planks Single file, they hauled their loads up 
the steep inclines. And this time, they could 
not stop fur breath because each time they 
put their burden down, they blocked the 
entire line. It was like Sunday traffic on the 

Once aboard, each man was handed a red, 
white, or blue card which told him where 
he would find his cabin, when he would eat, 
and how he would conduct himself in an 
emergency. White-helmeted MP's kept the 
line moving. Down the long companion- 
ways, across ''Piccadilly Circus," up the 
winding stairs, to the left, to the right. There 
was no end to it. Finally, Third Auxers saw 
their own advance guard and they quickly 
found their quarters. Majors on sun deck, 
captains and lieutenants on promenade deck, 
nurses on main deck, enlisted men below. 

The Queen had been ruthlessly cut into. 
Staterooms were intact but cabins had addi- 
tional berths along the walls. Below, every- 
thing had been removed to make room for 
rows upon rows of bunks, often in tiers of 
six and seven. These bunks were really can- 
vas shelves, so constructed that they could 
be folded flat against the side when not in 
use. Since each bunk held not only the oc- 
cupant but also all of his belongings, there 
rarely was a chance to fold the shelf. The 
odor of human bodies pervaded the atmos- 
phere. Engineers had installed special air- 
conditioning equipment, but this was little 
more than a gesture. With thousands of men 
sleeping in such a confined space, proper 
ventilation was a physical impossibility and 
when half of these men became seasick, the 

resulting effluvium was nothing short of 

After their first tour of the ship. Third 
Auxers suddenly realized that they were 
dead tired. There was a brief conference in 
Colonel Blatt's stateroom. A room on Main 
Deck was designated as Headquarters. Third 
Auxers would run the sick bay and take 
turns as sanitary inspectors. Schedules would 
be posted. Then, the overheated atmosphere 
began to have its effect. One by one, the men 
were overcome by fatigue. They made off 
to their bunks and dreamed of submarines, 
bombs, and mines, little realizing that great 
precautions had been taken to safeguard 
them from these perils. The Queen Mary 
might be a lone wolf but she was by no 
means deprived of all protection. Her war 
record was already three years old. 

She had come into New York harbor one 
day in September 1939, seeking refuge from 
German bombs. Here she stayed until the 
following spring and here she blossomed out 
with that coat of gray paint that became her 
war garb. Her first trip as a British troop 
transport came in May of 1940. It was a 
round-the-world voyage by way of Aus- 
tralia and South Africa, This trip was fol- 
lowed by many more from Australia to 
Egypt. The Queen was carrying Aussies to 
North Africa. 

Pearl Harbor came and barely two months 
later she sailed from Boston for Australia 
with 8,200 U.S. troops aboard. This was her 
first service as an American troop transport. 
In May of 1942 the monster (as she came 
to be called a Meet ion ate! y) made her first 
transatlantic crossing. During the ensuing 
summer she transported British troops from 
England to North Africa around the Cape 
of Good Hope. In the fall she was ordered 
back to America where she came to grief. 
On 2 October she was rammed in Boston 
harbor, not by a German submarine but by 
the British cruiser Curacao. The cruiser was 


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The Queen Mary 01 ih« looked in June !94*f. 

sliced in two and the Queen had part of her 
bow torn away. She was in drydock for two 
months. Her damage repaired, the Queen 
had just been put back into service when the 
Third Aux embarked* 

Early on the morning of 8 December 
1942, her engines were started on low -water 
slack, a period of about twenty-five minutes 
when the tide turns. At five o'clock tugs 
pulled her away from the pier and a few 
minutes later she was going down the river 
under her own power. At eight o'clock when 
most Third Auxers were still rubbing the 
sleep out of their eyes, the Queen was in the 
middle of the Narrows, following a care- 
fully staked-out channel that was swept day 
and night. It was a clear sunny morning 
with a tang in the air and a mirror-smooth 
ocean. At Ambrose lightship the Queen 

stopped and the pilot was put off. Once 
again the Queen was in the hands of her 
master, Captain Bisset, who ordered her full 
speed ahead. But full speed ahead did not 
mean straight ahead. First this way, then 
that way. Never more than nine minutes in 
the same direction. As the Manhattan sky- 
line dropped out of sight, Captain Coffey 
remarked: "Well, 1*11 be darned! Does the 
Captain know where he is going or did he 
have too many drinks last night?" 

The Captain knew very well where he 
was going and he proceeded according to a 
course that had been worked out into the 
smallest detail. Each deviation (and there 
were hundreds of them) was plotted before- 
hand so that in spite of complete radio 
silence the ship's exact position was known 
at all times. The Captain knew where to 


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look for submarines, derelicts, icebergs, con- 
voys, and independent ships. He was told 
when he could break radio silence, where he 
could look for surface escort, and what kind 
of weather he could expect. If the Navy 
obtained information about subs, this was 
sent out in coded messages with precise in- 
structions. These were called diversions. 
There might be as many as six of them on 
a single crossing. There were diversions to 
steer clear of submarine packs, of icebergs, 
and of independent raiders, All this, plus the 
expert routing, the constant zigzagging, and 
her great speed kept the Queen safe through 
five years of war* It Is now known that a 
few German subs did spot the Queen, One 
of them even launched a torpedo but the 
distance was too great and the torpedo ex- 
ploded five hundred yards short of her mark. 

Naturally, Third Auxers could not see 
any of these things when they appeared on 
deck. What they did see was comforting 
enough however. Two destroyers raced 
alongside, a blimp lazicd overhead, airplanes 
circled far and near. Actually, this was the 
most dangerous stretch of the entire journey 
because German submarines could predict 
the ship's location. These waters were there- 
fore the most closely guarded. After a few 
hours, the blimp dropped out of sight, the 
destroyers were left behind, and the planes 
disappeared. The Queen was on her own! 

The loudspeaker announced boat drill. 
Normally, the Queen carries 2,000 passen- 
gers but on this crossing the pay-toad was 
12,000 and it was impossible to provide life- 
boats for more than 5,000. For the rest there 
were rubber rafts and life preservers. The 
life preservers had been distributed with 
generous hand and no man was ever sup- 
posed to be without one, not even in the 
latrine. The reason was obvious: in case of 
disaster, nobody would have time to go back 
to his cabin and retrieve the article. The 
ru!e was strict and offenders were punished 
in a unique way. Anyone caught without 

his Mae West had to surrender his shoes on 
the spot. The shoes were impounded by the 
MP's and the owner could regain his prop- 
erty only by presenting his Mae West at 
the shoe store. Many a man could be seen 
on that first day padding away in his socks 
over the wet decks and returning meekly 
with the corpus delicti. 

One of the first things Third Auxers 
learned was that if they fell overboard, the 
Queen was not going to look for them. 
British crew members obligingly pointed out 
that the main deck was over fifty feet above 
the water line and that the terrific concus- 
sion usually broke a man's neck. During the 
day numerous MP's watched for jay walkers 
but in the black-out everybody was on his 
own. On a particularly dark and stormy 
night Captain Hudson went outside, little 
suspecting how easy it was to gee lost on a 
ship as large as the Queen. Wandering 
around in the total darkness, he came to a 
railing, mistook it for a stairway, and slipped 
through. His only thought was: "Oh God! 
Help me!" At the last moment he grabbed 
the railing, steadied himself, and communi- 
cated with the Almighty by shouting above 
the wind: "Never mind!" 

Third Auxers quickly discovered that the 
Queen had been stripped of almost every- 
thing except her dimensions. The only fix- 
ture that was intact was the famous lounge. 
The swimming pools had been converted 
into dormitories and the squash courts into 
storage rooms. The main companionway was 
still called Piccadilly Circus but the smart 
window displays had vanished. The forward 
bar, once a gathering place for notables, had 
been transformed into the sick bay. Here, 
among surroundings reminiscent of former 
grandeur, Third Auxers took care of 
sprained ankles, sore throats, and eventually 
that dread malady, seasickness. 

For the enlisted men the journey was 
marked by great crowding, many restric- 
tions, and much boredom, but for the nurses 


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and officers, life was considerably better. The 
Queen scill had her full British crew and she 
was stocked with plentiful supplies from the 
American quartermaster. Of course, Third 
Auxers had to suppress their disappointment 
when they discovered that btibble-and- 
squeak is a breakfast dish of cold cabbage 
and potatoes. They also had to swallow their 
words when they found that trifle is a huge 
serving of custard surmounted with fruits 
and nuts and garnished with a thick layer 
of chocolate. But these jolts were minor 
compared with the pleasure of eating from 
a menu such as this: 


Barley Broth 

Spaghetti Capri 

Navarin of Lamb, Fermiere 

Lima Beans 

Fines Herbes 

Baked Jacket and Mashed Potatoes 

Ox Tongue Leicester Brawn 

Mixed Salad 

French Dressing 

Peach Pie 

Biscuits Cheese Coffee 

Such epicureanism was a far cry from the 
C rations that awaited the Third Aux in 
England, This was their last splurge. 

Besides eating, Third Auxers took great 
delight in the other activity of ocean travel- 
ers: walking the deck. This was an inex- 
haustible source of fascination. On a ship 
the size of the Queen, a man was never at 
a loss for something to watch. It might be 
the long green combers, or the turbulent 
wake, or the gun crews at their posts, or 
the look-out in the crow's nest, or just the 
fellow passengers. There were characters of 
all descriptions. Aussies on their way to 
England, Royal Navy men en route to a 
home assignment, merchant sailors repatriat- 
ing from torpedoed ships, American Red 

Cross workers, Canadian nurses on their first 
mission to the homeland, a whole company 
of Polish soldiers, a sprinkling of Scandi- 
navian mariners, a lone representative of 
the Fighting French, American newspaper 
men, ATS's, WREN's, WAAC's, WAVE's 
and a miscellany of nondescript warriors. 
At first it was difficult to mix with all these 
people. The American Red Cross had taken 
care of that. With commendable foresight, 
it had prepared a booklet* Third Auxers 
learned that they must never use the word 
"bloody" in the presence of an English lady 
and that they should never repeat Al Jol- 
son's story about English ale (Al wanted 
to put it back into the horse). With those 
subtle hints to gujde them, most Third 
Auxers had little trouble getting along. They 
listened enraptured to the stories about Dun- 
kirk and the Blitz. They found out that 
1400 stands for two o'clock in the after- 
noon. And they became used to the crisp 
voice of the BBC announcer who broadcast 
the nine o'clock news. It was all in the best 
English style. 

While most Third Auxers thus pursued 
a life of leisure, Headquarters again went 
back to the task of getting the unit on its 
feet. There were two big jobs to be fin- 
ished. One was to draw up a team roster. 
The other was to evaluate the enlisted men* 
A reviewing board was appointed by Col- 
onel Blatt and its members spent practically 
the entire journey at their task. The find- 
ings were transcribed on a master sheet that 
became a constant source of reference. They 
even produced a bit of humor. When one 
man was asked what made him think that 
he would make a good surgical technician, 
he answered: "I always enjoyed cutting up 
meat in my father's delicatessen!" 

There were many other jobs to do, A 
dozen Third Auxers were kept busy in the 
sick bay. Others acted as sanitary inspec- 
tors. Still others did deck watch on the 


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lower decks. This is how Captain Adams 
described his tour of duty: 

"One night it was my duty to stand 
watch on one of the decks deep down in the 
bowels of the ship. There was more vibra- 
tion down there and the air was poor, be- 
ing contaminated with the nauseous odors 
that pervade the inside of crowded ships. It 
was a group of Negro troops and they passed 
their time by playing poker and shooting 
craps. My only duty was to act as benevolent 
referee and see that no knives were drawn 
or throats cut. The first part of the night 
passed quickly enough because of the en- 
tertainment provided by the panorama of 
life about me but when the night was fairly 
settled and people slept, time began to drag 
and I could not help wondering what would 
happen down here, seven decks below, if a 
torpedo should strike/' 

During the first two days the weather 
was bright and the sea calm. The gentle 
swells barely rocked the monster. On the 
third day the water became a little choppy 
and the ship began to roll slowly, with great 
dignity and regularity. The sky was over- 
cast with a gray cloud and the sea turned 
a glassy black In which the white, curling 
carpet of the wake cut a sinister pattern. 
The Queen was headed into one of the worst 
storms of her life. 

On the fourth day visibility was cut to 
half a mile and squalfs of rain began to 
strike. Huge, white-streaked rollers crashed 
down on the bow with such force that life- 
boats were knocked askew and men were 
swept off their feet. The howling wind 
called forth a musical note from every edge, 
every beam, every exposed object. There 
was the deep bass of the main shrouds, the 
wavering tremolo of the halyards, the pierc- 
ing shriek of the radio wires. A sharp roll 
of the ship and up would go the pitch to 
an eerie whistle. The Queen neither slack- 
ened speed nor stopped her zigzag course. 

The fifth day was the worst. Even the 
seasoned British sailors stood fascinated to 
watch the bow go down before each mon- 
strous swell, hesitate momentarily, toss a 
mountain of water aside, and fight up again 
for the next rise. The raging wind shook 
the ship, tore at the lifeboats, whipped the 
superstructure, and bent the wires on the 
bridge. Waves rumbled and thundered and 
crashed mercilessly, white foam sliding down 
the long slopes. Sometimes there would be a 
smack or a thud or a crash as the speeding 
behemoth met the furious seas head-on and 
took her punishment. Mighty as she was, 
the waves were mightier. The Captain's log 
noted that the Queen had heeled to thirty 
degrees. This was a battle of the giants. 

The main damage occurred on the first 
day before anybody had a chance to brace 
himself. It happened in the dining room 
just as the third breakfast shift was getting 
under way. When the Queen heads into a 
storm, chairs are battened down and tables 
are provided with special guards to keep the 
food from spilling. However, nobody 
thought of a storm at this time. The Trans- 
port Commander, a rotund and dignified 
man whose table was next to a Third Aux 
table, came in with his usual swagger and 
remarked with an expansive gesture: "You 
medicos may be awfully smart but I bet you 
don't know that the best treatment for this 
is a dash of terra fir ma applied to the balls 
of both feet." He had hardly finished when 
a huge roller struck the ship. The floor be- 
gan to heel over, first a little, then more 
and more, finally to an alarming degree. 
Dishes clattered on the floor, chairs began 
to slide, everybody held on for dear life. 

But not the great man. He had been so 
pleased with his own joke that he was still 
laughing heartily when his chair started out 
from under him. Down he went, followed 
by his two poached e^gs. Being rotund, he 
rolled and rolled until he hit the table to 
which the Third Auxers were clinging. The 


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impact left him with a black eye for the 
remainder of the trip but his immediate em- 
barrassment was somewhat lightened by the 
fact that the entire dining room was thrown 
into utter confusion. That one roller cost 
the Queen a whole carload of china. 

That evening, a huge wave stove in a 
porthole of Lieutenant Telia's cabin. Al- 
though this porthole was ordinarily forty 
feet above the water line, the waves were 
of such size that water started coming in 
by the bucketful. The hour was late and the 
men were asleep. The first thing Telia knew 
was that there was water under his bunk 
and he immediately concluded that the ship 
was on its way down. He jumped up. This 
was no time to lose his head. Only speed 
could save him. Mustering all his presence 
of mind, he woke his bunkmates and told 
them to put on their life belts. 

"We've been torpedoed!" he said, keep- 
ing his voice as calm as possible. 

"Shall I take -my gas mask?" asked one 
of the sleep-drunk men. 

"To hell with your mask. You won't need 
that in the middle of the ocean." 

Water was now ankle-deep and Telia led 
his men out, prepared to abandon ship. But, 
instead of seeing the decks awash, he was 
greeted by a perfectly dry alleyway with 
an MP looking on as If nothing had hap- 

"Which way do we go?" 

"Go where?" asked the MP, 

"To the boats, of course." 

Telia did not need to ask further ques- 
tions. The expression on the MP's face was 
enough. Sheepishly the men went back to 
mop the floor. 

Here is what Captain Adams had to say 
of those days, 

"I have no very clear recoflection of the 
storm. The motion of the ship was exces- 
sive, driving me and many others to the 
bunks. There was just the seemingly end- 

less passage of time. In the dimly-lit cabin 
there was no delineation between night and 
day. Nor was time marked off by the regu- 
lar appearance of meals because the last 
thing desired or thought of was food. Time 
dragged by on leaden feet, one minute giv- 
ing grudgingly to the next. By lying flat and 
closing his eyes, a man could maintain some 
sort of comfort but as soon as he raised his 
head his stomach would become an empty 
void. With much gulping of air and marked 
salivation he would break out in cold per- 
spiration. Then he would lie down again 
and become one with the motion of the ship, 
now up, now down* rolling this way, roll- 
ing that way. 

The elements built up until on the third 
night the climax came. Sleep was out of the 
question. The ship would either shiver from 
one end to the other or it would tremble 
as the propellers bit into the air. Hesitating 
on top of a wave the monster would lurch 
forward into a trough* rolling and swaying 
as if in a somersault. Wooden fittings creaked 
and snapped. Steel structures strained and 
panted. Sturdy bunks moved violently back 
and forth so that a man had to hold on to 
keep from being pitched out. Word was 
brought that hardier souls had been tossed 
around like feathers in the breeze. Chairs, 
tables, rugs* and men were slapped together 
in pell-mell fashion. Many were the broken 
legs, the bloody noses, the sprained backs. 
We were in a notorious scrip of rough water 
called the Devil's Bowl." 

Now the hospital staff came into its own. 
Patients were admitted by the dozen, some 
of them so depleted that they had to be 
revived with intravenous glucose. At the 
height of the excitement a man was ad- 
mitted with a diagnosis of acute appendi- 
citis. The operating room was prepared. 
Solutions splashed. Trays slid. Packs rolled. 
When Captain Ralph Coffey finally picked 
up the knife, his footing was so unsteady 
that he had to hold on to the table! It is 


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not every surgeon who can say that he has 
removed an appendix with one hand. 

Finally the storm calmed down* Clouds 
were still hanging low but the rain stopped 
and late in the morning of 14 December 
there rose up, silhouetted against the threat- 
ening skies* the tall rock of Ailsa Craig* 
Gulls began to circle the ship, A destroyer 
hove into view. Planes appeared overhead. 
As if to welcome the Queen, a feeble sun 
pierced the gloom. It was not much but it 
gladdened the hearts of these travel-weary 

The Queen threaded her way up the Firth 
of Clyde. Through the guarded entrance 
and past the submarine net, she now entered 
the safe, smooth waters of the estuary. 
Gradually the day brightened and as it did 
so, the men caught glimpses of a panorama 
that was ample reward for the perils they 
had just withstood. 

In the background the gentle slopes of 
Ben Lomond reached down to the horizon. 
Along the shores nestled the villages, pic- 

turesque villages of infinite charm. Smoke 
lazied up from chimneys and formed a 
gentle canopy. Splotches of sunlight darted 
back and forth. Color was everywhere. Not 
the dirty gray of the ocean but delicate 
pastel shades that changed from one minute 
to the next. How soothing to the eye that 
has beheld nothing but angry waters. 

All around were ships. Sleek destroyers, 
ready to go into action. Cargo boats, snubbed 
down at the bow. Submarines, gently fur- 
rowing the surface. Aircraft carriers, aloof 
in pompous indifference, A top-heavy liner, 
the Empress of China, nearby. And through 
it all, a multitude of small boats chugging 
back and forth. Here were dozens of ships 
that crossed the ocean day in, day out, in 
all kinds of danger, without fuss or fanfare. 
Of what use was it to shout out that the 
Queen had outrun submarines and tri- 
umphed over nature? Chains rattled. An- 
chors fell. The Third Aux had arrived. 

There are only a few harbors in the world 
with piers large enough to accommodate the 

The Queen Mary at anchor in the Firth of Clyde. 






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Queen, and Glasgow was not one of them. 
In the absence of these facilities, the ship 
moored in the middle of the Firth, opposite 
the villages of Greenock and Gourock. It 
was late now. Impatient as they were, Third 
Auxers had to wait till the next day before 
they could debark. The Port Surgeon came 
aboard. There was not much that he could 
tell the men except that life in England was 
grim. "Better enjoy your fresh eggs in the 
morning, 1 * he said, "They are the last ones 
you'll eat." 

Debarkation started early the next morn- 
ing. Everything had to be loaded into light- 
ers and then ferried ashore, a round trip of 
eight miles. One by one, the units lined up. 
At three o'clock Third Auxers fell in. With 
one hand on his valpak and the other on his 
helmet, each man jumped down onto the 
deck of the lighter. Only Captain Hudson 
stayed behind. It was his job to supervise 
the unloading of the bedding rolls. He bat- 
tled stevedores for a week and rejoined the 
Group at Oxford. If it had not been for his 
vigilance, most Third Aux property would 
have wound up in the Glasgow black 

Gourock was not a sight to inspire Third 
Auxers. Rain was again coming down in a 
steady stream and although the hour was 
only four o'clock, darkness was already set- 
ting in. A mid-winter day in Scotland lasts 
only eight hours and this particular day was 
marked by lowering skies and sudden squalls. 
However, even had the weather been clear 
there would have been little opportunity for 
sight-seeing because the ferry station and 
the railroad station were under the same 
roof. The waiting room was barren. The 
restaurant was fresh out of food. The guards 
spoke an unintclhgble language. It was cold, 
dark, and wet. Third Auxers sat down on 
their valpaks and began to munch K rations. 

Finally, word was given to board the train. 
And what a train f Each car was cut up into 
a dozen little compartments with a separate 

door to the outside. No lights. No heat. 
Small wonder that the men cheered when 
Scottish lassies trundled a huge teapot along 
the platform and began serving hot tea. 

There was only one man who thought he 
could do without tea. With commendable 
foresight Major Peyton had put a bottle of 
ten-year-old Scotch in his musette bag when 
he left Fort Sam. In spite of numerous 
temptations, he had nursed his property for 
just such a low spot as this. This was the end 
of the travail. Now for a drink. He reached 
around. The bag was wet! Then the awful 
truth bore in on him. In the violent agita* 
tions of disembarkation the bottle had 
broken and the precious liquid was now 
seeping dismally through layers and layers 
of GI underwear to christen its home soil. 

On its arrival in Gourock, the Group was 
greeted by an emissary from ETO Head- 
quarters, Lieutenant Colonel James B. 
Brown, the well-known plastic surgeon from 
St. Louis. Third Auxers were heartened to 
think that their arrival had been anticipated 
and they impatiently questioned Colonel 

"When do we go to work, Colonel?" 

"Now, don't be too eager. When I got 
here last summer, nobody knew I was com- 
ing, let alone what I was supposed to do. 
All I did for the first week was to fill out 
a questionnaire and put down where I had 
my internship!" 

"What is life going to be like in Oxford, 

"You are going to do a lot of walking be- 
cause your barracks are three miles from 
town. It's the only thing that'll keep you 

While this conversation was going on, the 
train was slowly huffing and puffing towards 
Edinburgh, Third Auxers did not see this 
famous city. They were too much preoccu- 
pied with keeping themselves comfortable. 
A man could either go to sleep or keep 


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warm. Some sat with their eyes glued to 
the windows, trying to pierce the darkness. 
Alas! Their only reward was an occasional 
glimpse of huge signs reading: IS YOUR 
morning, every Third Auxer was fully in 
accord with the English housewife who sat 
down in a crowded bus and said: "I wish 
this 'ere 'itler would get married and settle 

Morning dawned cold and dreary. Then 
word was brought: *'Short stop for break- 
fast in Leicester!" Third Auxers licked their 
chops. They hadn't had a hot meal for a 
day and a half and they had visions of steam- 
ing ham and eggs. They were disappointed, 
"Breakfast" consisted of a cup of weak tea 
and a dish that looked like meat pie but was 
actually a mixture of sawdust and horse 
meat. To forget their hunger, the men be- 
gan to crack jokes. The most appropriate 
one was about a Texan who was trying to 
impress an Englishman with the size of 

Texas. "Why, in Texas you can get on a 
train in the morning and ride all day and 
all night and all the next day and you are 
still in Texas!" 

**Yes we have trains like that in 

England too," was the unexpected reply. 

At eleven o'clock the train pulled into 
Oxford. Buses were waiting, shades drawn. 
No Nazi spy would witness the arrival of 
such a supercharged organization as the 
Third Aux. The shades kept spies from look- 
ing in and Third Auxers from looking out 
and that was a pity because High Street was 
a fascinating sight, Gothic buildings lined 
the winding avenue. Slender spires lent en- 
chantment. Ancient archways beckoned 
strollers. But instead of strollers, there were 
only bicyclists, all riding in incomprehen- 
sible harmony on the wrong side of the 
street! The buses joined this left-handed 
parade, threaded their way across Magdalen 
Bridge, and made straight for a more prosaic 
part of town. The long journey was over. 

Cowley ftarrotki. What a home for heraei. 


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When they alighted from their buses 
Third Auxers saw a building of crumbling 
limestone and bat tie men ted towers, nail* 
studded doors, and mullioned windows. This 
was Cowley Barracks, home of the Oxford- 
shire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, 
one of His Majesty's most illustrious regi- 
ments. Here, glory had resided since time 

But what a home for heroes ! The nail- 
studded doors were only the beginning* Be- 
yond them lay a veritable maze of dungeons 
with sagging floors, peeling walls, sooty win- 
dows, and miniature fireplaces, Crooked, 
narrow hallways and winding, creaky stairs 
led from one cell to another. These cells were 
so arranged that there was one common en- 
trance for a group of ten. The effect was 
that of a labyrinth with Third Auxers in 
the role of rats, 

A chill pervaded the atmosphere. What 
about a fire? Somebody had already located 
the coal pile. The more practical souls went 
to work. They measured a fireplace and cal- 
culated that it would hold approximately 
two handfuls of coal. Others started hunt- 
ing for blankets. They found them in the 
coal bin. No statistician will ever figure out 
the number of man-hours misspent in pro- 
viding warmth for these drafty catacombs. 
This was Elizabethan comfort. 

The nurse 1 ; fared a little better. They were 
quartered in Slade Camp, a nearby group 
of barracks of more recent date. Two ATS 

girls had done their best. A roaring fire was 
going in the mess hall. Beds were made. 
Halls had been swept* The English girls were 
overwhelmed by the sight of seventy well- 
groomed American women. "I say* Peg," 
said one to the other, "Don't those Amer- 
ican girls wear any stockings?" English 
women had become so used to their cotton 
stockings that they did not even recognize 
the sheer American article! 

The enlisted men's barracks were across 
the lawn from the officers* quarters. Two 
large rooms accommodated the men without 
much crowding and each room contained 
an object that was worth its weight in gold: 
a pot-bellied stove. These stoves did not have 
one idle moment from the time the Third 
Aux moved in and they warmed not only 
the enlisted men but many an officer as well. 
The designer of Cowley Barracks had evi- 
dently worked on the idea that while en- 
listed men may share their discomforts, offi- 
cers must suffer individually. 

In the few hours that were left before 
dark, Colonel Btatt started the ball rolling. 
He selected his Headquarters, inspected the 
mess hall, sent a truck for rations, and told 
the mess sergeant to prepare the first meal. 
At seven o'clock a long line of hungry, dis- 
pirited Third Auxers lined up for their first 
hot chow in two days. One by one they filed 
by the antiquated stoves to have their mess 
kits filled with mulligan stew and canned 
peaches. After this repast, they went back 


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to their dungeons through the same rain 
that had fallen uninterruptedly from the 
time they set foot in Scotland, Captain Cof- 
fey grunted; "Let's cut the barrage balloon 
cables and let the island sink where it may." 

The next day dawned at ten o'clock and 
Third Auxers tackled the job of making 
Cowley Barracks livable. They swept the 
floors, set mouse traps, and pounced on the 
coal pile. Their efforts were more notable 
for enthusiasm than discretion. When a 
British inspector came around a week later 
and found out that the coal pile was half 
gone, he exclaimed in great consternation: 
"My God! That was supposed to last till 

The English in December 1942 had just 
recovered from the American invasion of the 
previous summer. These Yanks had gone on 
to North Africa and all that was left after 
their departure was the 29th Division and a 
few service organizations. Colonel Blatt had 
the happy idea of asking one of the officers 
of the 29th Division, Colonel Slappey, to 
give a talk on British manners and morals. 
Colonel Slappey's words were repeated at a 
later date in Yank magazine as follows: 

"If the steering wheel is on the right and 
the car is driven on the left, if Lucky Strikes 
and Camels have Woodbines and Craven A's 
for competition, if the people drink tea 
(pronounced tay), if the coflfee tastes like 
ink, the ink writes like water, and the water 
tastes like a mixture of iron rust and stale 
seltzer, then this is England. 

If the hot water in the shower room is 
cold, if the beer is warm, if the door knobs 
turn to the left, if the national indoor sport 
is darts, if rhe stores open late and close 
early, then this is England* 

If the signs read: Drink OXO or BOV- 
RIL, or Use PERSIL, if the movies (called 
cinemas) show ads on the screen between 
pictures, if one of those ads reads: Bert the 
Bike Thief is still about. Have you locked 

your bicycle?, if all the people from six to 
sixty ride bikes and ride like sixty too, if 
the pedals on your bicycle turn forward and 
backward, if the electric bulbs have no 
threads, then this is England. 

If the hotels offer you a room with break- 
fast in bed, if you find a hot water bag in 
bed, if they serve you kippers or beans on 
toast for breakfast, if you hear the boys talk 
about Janet of the Daily Mirror, if the 
national dish seems to be fish and chips, then 
this is England. 

If they have movies with such titles as 
'Money for Jam' and Tanny by Gaslight/ 
if "She's knocked up" means that she's tired, 
if they light a fag with what ought to be 
called a futility lighter, if the soldiers wear 
stripes upside down, tf they call you up on 

High Sfrcct locking toward* Carfax. On the 

left, Univ«nity College. On the right. Queen* 



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the phone and then ask, 'Are you there?*, 
then this is England/* 

And yet, there were compensations. A 
city of lovely spires within a ring of green 
meadows, Oxford possessed enough architec- 
tural treasures to fascinate the most untu- 
tored. Through the centuries, kings and 
queens* bishops and cardinals had left their 
imprint on the city. The glorious reredos of 
All Souls College, the stunning windows of 
Merton Chapel, the awesome interior of St. 
Mary Magdalene, the vast Bodleian library, 
the priceless Ashmolean museum, these were 
sights that had no peers. 

The city offered more than culture. It 
offered a glad welcome. Staunch Oxonians 
had created a hospitality-and-entertainment 
committee whose job it was to help the 
Americans discover the warm spirit behind 
the forbidding exterior. This committee did 
its job so well that before a week had passed, 
Third Auxers had more invitations than they 
could accept. It was one continuous round 
of teas, lectures, socials, musicales, dances, 
get-togethers, community sings, and church 
services. And this was all the more remark- 
able because food and liquor were at an all- 
time low. Colonel Slappey had warned the 
Third Auxers always to bring a supply of 
scarce articles along when they were invited 
for dinner. That was easy with sugar and 
butter but when it came to liquor, Amer- 
icans had a lot to learn. The English liquor 
ration in those days amounted to the equiva- 
lent of one American high ball a month. 

To keep up with the constant flow of in- 
vitations, Colonel Blatt appointed Major 
Hatt as social chairman. A few days before 
Christmas Major Hatt received a call from 
the Rector Magnificus of the University. 
An officer of the Third Aux, provided he be 
of at least professorial rank, was invited to 
attend the Boar's Head ceremony. Major 
Graves was selected for the honor and he 
was privileged to witness a ritual as quaint 

and impressive as Oxford itself. Let him 
speak for himself. 

"When I entered the portico of the fine 
old building, I had only a very vague idea 
of how I was to conduct myself, but I was 
not left in the dark very long. The portico 
fairly bulged with erudite pedagogs. They 
were dressed in scholastic togas and I esti- 
mated their average age at approximately 
sixty-five. Surveying this scene of white 
manes, bald heads, and flowing beards, I be- 
came profoundly conscious of my own un- 
professorial appearance and I tried unsuc- 
cessfully to strike a pose commensurate with 
the occasion. Evidently, my efforts did not 
go entirely unnoticed and I soon found my- 
self talking to one of these venerable aca- 

My first question was about the origin of 
the Boar's Head ceremony. It seems that in 
1397 the Headmaster of the College, a 
scholarly but impractical man, had gone for 
a walk in the woods unarmed except for 
a copy of Aristotle's Contemplations. En- 
grossed in his book, the good professor wan- 
dered farther and farther from home. Sud- 
denly a wild boar crossed his path. The 
beast charged. Escape was impossible. Then, 
just as the ugly fangs were bearing down on 
him, the professor stuffed his book down the 
boar's throat and the animal suffocated on 
the spot! In gratitude, the faculty of the 
college to this day offers a thanksgiving 

While I was thus getting briefed on Ox- 
ford's academic history, the hall of the Col- 
lege gradually began to fill. The word hall 
is somewhat misleading here. It looked more 
like a cathedral to me. In the soft candle- 
light, the lofty. pillars assumed an unearthly 
quality and this was enhanced when an a 
cappella choir intoned a beautiful hymn, 
Would I be able to hold my own in this 
rarefied atmosphere? I must admit that I 
felt slightly uneasy. 


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I was introduced to the Rector Magnifi- 
cus, a dignified man who professed great 
joy at seeing me. Would I be kind enough 
to lead the procession? Before I had time 
to answer* the professors lined up and the 
Rector gently shoved me to the head of the 
column. The doors swung open. Down the 
aisle we went, first the Rector and I, then 
the professors, and then the choristers in 
their monastic garb. They sang a chant that 
has remained unchanged since the original 
version of 1397. Solemnly and reverently 
the strains reverberated through the great 
hall. Step by step we advanced and arranged 
ourselves about a huge table. This finished 
the public part of the ceremony. On their 
way out, the people received a sprig of holly 
from the Rector as a symbol of the same 
good luck that saved the professor's life in 
times gone by. 

The dinner which now followed was as 
elaborate as in pre-war days, the only con- 
cession being that, venison had been substi- 
tuted for boar's meat. In the midst of this 
repast, the doors swung open and an ex- 
traordinary procession appeared on the 
scene. First came a herald, then a group of 
students in medieval costumes, and finally 
a giant boar's head on a platter so huge that 
it had to be carried by four men in very 
much the same manner as the old teutonic 
chieftains used to be hoisted on the shoul- 
ders of their subjects. The boar's head found 
its way to a separate table in front of the 

After dinner the party adjourned to the 
buttery (a place for bottles, not butter) and 
I felt sufficiently oriented to launch into 
conversation. It was a bit stuffy at first but 
I endeared myself to the professors with a 
question about syntactical resemblances of 
Old French and Middle English. After that 
we became fast friends. Dawdling over our 
wine, we discussed everything from the fu- 
ture of the British Empire to the price of 
fresh eggs. The piece de resistance was an 

enormous gold and ebony loving cup which 
each guest held up with both hands, while 
reciting a Latin incantation. My Latin being 
a bit rusty, the Rector had taken pains to 
rehearse me and when my turn came, I ac- 
quitted myself like the best of them, ele- 
gantly and graciously. And so endeth my 
one and only encounter with the Boar's 

From the day they arrived in Oxford 
Third Auxers had had an inquisitive eye 
on London. It was not a hospitable city in 
those days but it held a certain fascination 
nevertheless and soon became a favorite 
week-ending spot. There was something for 
every taste. A few Third Auxers sought out 
the luxury hotels like the Grosvenor and the 
Dorchester, others reveled in the glories of 

Tlic Chapel ot Etetcr College, Oxford. It wai 
in inch surrounding* at these thai Major 
Gravel attended the Boar's Heed ceremony. 


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the National Art Galleries, still others 
browsed in the old book stores along Tot- 
tenham Court Road, and everybody wanted 
to see the storied spots like May fair, Hyde 
Park, Westminster Abbey, the Tower, Fleet 
Street, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar 
Square, and Big Ben. But the path of the 
sight -seer was not always easy. Major Graves 
had this experience. 

"After we had been at Cowley Barracks 
a few days I bought a bicycle and decided 
that a trip to London would be just the 
thing. Unfortunately the weather was 
wicked. Rain fell steadily* Finally on the 
Saturday before Christmas it stopped. Here 
was my chance. I packed my musette bag, 
fixed it to the saddle, and swung out on 
the great London road. My spirits were high. 

Everybody wonted fa sec Big Den. 

At first everything was fine. Favored with 
a following wind, I kept the pedals spinning 
swiftly. Progress was effortless, exhilarating, 
and yet restful. A bicycle is a wonderful in- 
vention. Little cottages and lovely old homes 
dotted my route. I felt as free as a bird in 
the air. 

At the Chiltern escarpment a dense fog 
enveloped me. In a short time I was 
drenched. Visibility was cut to a few hun- 
dred feet. I stopped to look at my map. 
Thirty more miles! Maybe a bicycle wasn't 
so wonderful after all. 

f Can I help you? 3 came a friendly voice 
out of the fog. It was a fellow cyclist. I told 
him of my predicament. 

'Better have a cup of tea at my house. 
You have a long wet ride ahead of you,' he 

I accepted eagerly. The English have the 
reputation of being a very unapproachable 
people but this chap was as genial as any 
drugstore clerk in America. His spontaneous 
act of kindness meant more to me than many 
invitations to the homes of the well-to-do. 
The tea tasted good. Refreshed, I started on 
the last lap. 

Darkness was almost complete when I en- 
tered the suburbs. I had no map of the city 
but I knew that all roads lead to Piccadilly 
Circus and I knew exactly where to look 
for the Regent Palace. Of course, it was 
somewhat startling to ride along Oxford 
Street among crowds and crowds of people 
and yet not find a single light. Suddenly, I 
felt very cold and very tired. Progress was 
becoming more and more difficult and it 
was with great relief that I finally dis- 
mounted at Piccadilly Circus and groped for 
the door of the Regent Palace. 

The lobby was crowded. A long line of 
people were waiting in front of a window 
that said RESERVATIONS. In wartime 
London every respectable hotel was booked 
for weeks in advance! I fought my way to 


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the window. The clerk shrugged his shoul- 
ders. He was much too busy taking care of 
his regular customers. I looked around* Not 
a familiar face. What now? Hesitantly, I 
went back to Piccadilly Circus, a huge ex- 
panse of hostile blackness. 

Cabs whizzed by. Busses loomed up out 
of the darkness and disappeared without 
leaving a trace, People passed by the dozen, 
but only as shapeless forms. They talked and 
laughed like ordinary human beings but they 
seemed to move behind a heavy curtain. 
Everybody knew what he was doing and 
where he was going, except me. 

There is something startling about being 
caught in the blackout for the first time. 
The sensations are primordial At first you 
feel simply annoyed, Well — what of it? 
There must be some place to go. You try 
to find it, only to stub your toe or turn your 
ankle* You hesitate and suddenly you feel 
not only annoyed but abandoned, trapped, 
forsaken, pursued, threatened, and generally 

wretched all at the same time* Yes, it is true. 
Every evening this great city with all its 
offices, shops, restaurants, hotels, bars, thea- 
ters, and factories goes into hiding like a 
hunted animal. What price civilization?" 

Eventually a friendly Londoner directed 
Major Graves to the American Red Cross 
Hotel on Jermyn Street. Third Auxers came 
to know it well. Later on the Red Cross 
started many more of these havens all over 
England. Of the many Red Cross projects, 
this was undoubtedly the most popular, For 
the small sum of a few shillings, any GI 
could have a good meal, a comfortable room, 
and congenial surroundings at spots like the 
Swan in Stratford or the Ambassador in 

Finding a meal in London was no job for 
the uninitiated. Good food could still be had 
but at a price. By government decree, no 
meal might cost more than five shillings 
(about one dollar) and no meal might have 
more than three courses. Ordinary restau- 

An other minor inconvenience w#i the qil*u«. This it Leicester Square in London. 

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I 3 

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rants would serve the "utility meal/* At the 
fancier places, the customer could buy half 
a meal for his five shillings and then step 
into the next room for the other half. Or, 
the menus would be so cluttered with a tax- 
for-this and a charge- for-that that nobody 
could figure out what the bill would be. 

Another minor inconvenience was the 
theater schedule. Shows started at six and 
finished at nine, the very hour when most 
restaurants would close* Captain Gaynor had 
this experience, 

"I had been to see The Doctor's Dilemma* 
and came out, hungry as a bear* Where to 
eat? I tried half a dozen places around Pic- 
cadilly Circus with about as much chance as 
a bastard at a family reunion. Everywhere 
it was the same thing; Come back next week. 
Finally I grabbed a cab and put it to the 

'Take me to where there is food. Any 
kind of food. Even boiled cabbage and kip- 
pered herring,' 

He took me to Lyon's Corner House* All 
I could see in the darkness was a line a block 
long. But I was so desperate that I took up 
my position anyway. Half an hour later, 
when I had finally struggled to a table, the 
waiter imperiously informed me that it was 
now after nine and the menu was limited to 
soup and hors d*oeuvres. 


Tm sorry, sir. Don't you know that there 
is a war on?* 

'Well, I ought to. T sure am a lot farther 
from home than you will ever be!" 

It can be said without fear of contradic- 
tion that no Third Auxer ever really felt 
warm during those first months in England, 
Even the central heating would do no more 
than take the chill out of the air. Albert 
Hall, home of the London Philharmonic, 
was so cold that most people kept their mit- 
tens on during the concerts. The English 
were used to it. Through generations of ex- 

posure, they had become inured to the chilly 
drafts and constant dampness. But Third 
Auxers were soft and they were amazed at 
the actions of the average Englishman who 
entered one of those grossly underheated and 
over ventilated rooms: he would rush to the 
window, open it wide, and then poke vigor- 
ously in the fireplace to stir up what little 
warmth was there. Without their heavy un- 
derwear Third Auxers would never have sur- 
vived the Oxford social season* 

In spite of this heavy underwear Third 
Auxers succumbed in alarming numbers to 
the Cowley sniffles. Within a week ambu- 
lances were making regular round trips be- 
tween the barracks and the hospital. By great 
good luck the hospital was close by and it 
was staffed by an excellent group, the Pres- 
byterian Hospital unit from New York 
City. Far ahead of the average Nissen hut 
structure in England, this hospital became 
a sanctuary for ailing Third Auxers. Never 
were clean beds and warm meals more ap- 

Christmas came. For the majority it was 
just another cold, damp, dreary night in the 
Cowley dungeons with a few smoldering 
pieces of coal for cheer and a chorus of 
coughs for musk. No tree. No packages. No 
celebration of any kind. The Christmas 
presents did not arrive until ten months 
later f The story of these packages is a typ- 
ical Third Aux SNAFU 

When the Third Aux left home, friends 
and relatives said: "Let's send the boys a 
Christmas package.'* Consequently* thou- 
sands of packages followed the Group over- 
seas* Travel for that kind of freight was 
slow in 1942 but eventually the consignment 
arrived in England, just after the Group 
split up. The postal clerks, not knowing one 
part of the Third Aux from another, for- 
warded the five heavy sacks to Algiers. By 
the time they arrived, the Third Aux had 
left for Tunisia, By the time the sacks ar- 


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rived in Tunisia, the Third Aux had left for 
Sicily. By the time the sacks arrived in Sicily, 
the Third Aux was back in England. And 
when the sacks finally arrived back in Eng- 
land ten months later, the contents had been 
beaten into a pulp. Tobacco, candy, books, 
shirts, ties, fruit cake, and all the other 
articles were no longer individually recog- 
nizable but formed a sort of compote a la 
Third Aux t It was not the last time that 
Third Auxers were crossed up by the mails. 
After Christmas there began to be a sem- 
blance of activity. Colonel Cutler, Chief of 
the Professional Consultants in the ETO, 
came to Cowley and infected everybody 
with his boundless enthusiasm. "Mark my 
words," he said. "You may feel down and 
out now but you will be in the thick of it 
before long/' 

General Elliot' C. Cutler who inspired every 

Third Auxtr with hii beundku enthusiasm. 

Picture taken in the spring of 1945. 

And behold! He had hardly lifted his heels 
when orders started coming in. Teams went 
on detached service with the few Army hos- 
pitals then available. Individuals went on 
detached service with British hospitals. A 
group of twelve officers went to the Queen 
Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, a mag- 
nificent skyscraper in the American tradi- 

And this was not everything. The Plans 
and Training officer arranged a comprehen- 
sive program. Third Auxers listened to lec- 
tures by ETO consultants and the interna- 
tionally famous surgeon, Trueta. They in- 
spected a Canadian mobile unit and went on 
ward walks with Brigadier General Hugh 
Cairns, Professor Seddon, and Mr, Penny- 
packer, They took an anatomy course under 
Professor Clarke and a pathology course 
under Professor Florey, the man who made 
penicillin practical* And then there was the 
Inter-Allied Medical Conference in London 
which the Third Aux attended in a body. 
No, life was not completely sterile. 

The nurses too began to stir. They set up 
a mock operating room, borrowed equip- 
ment from the hospital, and started teach- 
ing the enlisted men. Here they struck a 
snag, however. The physical dimensions of 
Cowley Barracks and Slade Camp (the 
grounds were large enough to house an entire 
regiment) were such that housekeeping be- 
came a strenuous job. Of the 170 enlisted 
men in the Third Aux, 30 were needed in 
the kitchens, 50 for fire drill, 30 for polic- 
ing, 30 for guard duty, 30 for running the 
trucks, and 15 were sick t That left half a 
dozen available for training. 

While all this was going on Colonel Blatt 
hurried over to Cheltenham to find out what 
the Third Aux was supposed to do. Here in 
an inconspicuous spot simply called the 
farm, ETO brass was ensconced in a terraced 
series of temporary buildings overlooking 
the pretty Cotswold country. Here General 


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Paul Hawley held forth as Chief Surgeon. 
Here were the men who guided the fate of 
the Third Aux, Besides General Hawley they 
were Colonel Cutler, Chief of Professional 
Consultants, and Lieutenant Colonel Mason, 
Chief of Operations. These men made a 
gallant effort to evolve a plan but they were 
hamstrung by miscalculations that went 
back to the earlier phases of the wan What 
were these miscalculations? 

In April of 1942 the Allied High Com- 
mand decided on the principle of a cross- 
Channel invasion. A tentative target date for 
this operation, designated as ROUNDUP, 
was the summer of 1943, The Third Aux 
was included in the troop list and was rapid- 
ly brought up to strength. However, two 
developments interfered with ROUNDUP. 
In the first place, the United States did not 
have the landing craft for the six divisions 
that would be required. Secondly, because of 
the deterioration in the tactical situation 
during the summer of 1942, a diversionary 
operation was worked out. This was 
TORCH, the assault on North Africa. 

TORCH came off in November 1942, 
Instead of leading to a swift victory, 
TORCH became a costly battle in Tunisia. 
The flow of war materials to Tunisia was 
such a drain on the productive capacity of 
the United States that ROUNDUP had to 
be abandoned. As a result, the Third Aux 
was at loose ends. Since there was little the 
unit could do at home, General Hawley was 
notified to expect the Group anyway and 
to make the best possible use of it. Colonel 
Cutler wanted to attach the Group to the 
British Army in the Western desert but this 
plan misfired because the Third Aux did not 
have any equipment* Then General Hawley 
decided to send one-half of the Group to 
North Africa and to keep the other half in 

On 22 December General Hawley wired 
General Eisenhower that one-half of the 
Third Auxiliary Surgical Group would be 

available for the North African Base Sec- 
tion. On 8 January 1945 General Eisen- 
hower answered that he would accept the 
Group, provided that it bring its own ad- 
ministrative overhead. On 9 January the 
Third Aux was alerted. On the same day 
Colonel Cutler wrote to the Surgeon of the 
North African Base Section: "There is being 
sent from this Theater about half of an 
auxiliary surgical group in the form of 
twenty teams. Among the Group are many 

of our best American surgeons " 

On 12 January the official order was is- 
sued. The wording of this order later be- 
came a source of unending confusion. Suf- 
fice it to say at this point that one-half of 
the Third Aux with its own administrative 
overhead was relieved from the Services of 
Supply in England and assigned to the Allied 
Force in North Africa. This North African 
contingent was called the Detachment and, 
by inference^ the part that stayed behind 
was the parent body. 

Colonel Blatt selected the personnel for 
the North African contingent with the ut- 
most secrecy because he realized that vir- 
tually everybody would want to be included, 
At this time Major Harper was executive 
officer and Major Graves plans and training 
officer. Colonel Blatt decided to take Major 
Harper to North Africa and to leave Major 
Graves as commanding officer in England. 
On 1 1 January General Hawley wrote a 
memo to the effect that in his opinion Major 
Harper should stay behind. Colonel Blatt 
answered that the Group in England would 
be mostly training and should therefore be 
headed by the plans and training officer. 
General Hawley acquiesced. 

Meanwhile, life at Cowley Barracks 
dragged on. The rain never ceased. The pall 
never lifted. The mess hall never lost its 
smell of decay. Third Auxers grew restless. 
The Supply Officer had been let in on the 
secret and he had told a few trusted friends. 


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Rumors were rife* To relieve the tension, 

Colonel Blatt ordered a dance on 4 Febru- 
ary. It was a gay party which lasted deep 
into the night. A few hours later the ax 
fell. The Third Aux was drawn and halved. 

Third Auxers had just six hours to get 
ready. They pounced on their bedding rolls 
and they sold their bicycles and they said 
goodbye to their girls and they lined up in 
the quadrangle at five o'clock in the after- 
noon, ready to do battle. Major Graves made 
the valedictory address: 

"To you who are now coming face to face 
with the enemy, we who stay behind give 
our fond farewells. We know that you will 
do yourselves proud. May our reunion take 
place under happier circumstances/' 

Six huge, gray buses rumbled up. Colonel 
Blatt made a final check. All present and 
accounted for. Gears clashed, Engines 
roared. Horns honked. The vehicles drew 
away. Darkness settled on Cowley. 

From here on, the Third Aux lived a 
dual existence: one in England and one in 
North Africa, To the North African con- 
tingent belongs the credit for working out, 
along with the Second Aux, the deployment 
of surgical teams at the front. This was a 
signal contribution which set the pattern 
for the much larger operations of the fu- 
ture. Therefore, the next chapter will follow 
the Third Aux into the Mediterranean 

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Captain Adams has recorded the events 
of the next few weeks: 

"Our flight from England began in the 
cold, damp dusk of a winter evening, for 
this move, as most others, was undertaken 
at night. We left the wet, shining streets of 
Oxford at the station and entrained in the 
dimly-lit compartments of a British Rail- 
ways carriage. 

First our gear was stowed as comfortably 
as possible because we were weighted down 
with helmets, gas masks, musette bag con- 
taining mess kit and toilet articles, and a 
canteen filled with water. We chugged off 
into the darkness in holiday mood: whenever 
a unit moves to a different station, the trip 
is welcomed as a change in the monotony of 
circumscribed living. The evening hours 
passed quickly enough in the give-and-take 
banter that accompanies high spirits. Specu- 
lation was rife as to our port of embarka- 
tion. We already had a definite idea that we 
were bound for Africa, 

As the night wore on, some played cards. 
Others conversed in low tones, subdued by 
tiredness and the lateness of the hour. Others 
attempted to snatch a little sleep sitting up- 
right, closely supported by men on either 
side, but usually jounced awake by the mo- 
tion of the train. The hours seemed inter- 

Dawn broke about nine o'clock the next 
morning and the train finally stopped to 

let us clamber stiffly down to a breakfast of 
coffee and sandwiches. We found ourselves 
greeted by an old friend: it was at Gourock 
that the Queen Mary had deposited us two 
months earlier. We hustled aboard a small 
steamer tied to the quay. The morning was 
sunny but bitterly cold and gusty with 
wind. Here we waited again, this time till 
noon. During the night the wind had blown 
with hurricane force, fierce enough to cause 
most of the ships in that snug hill-girt har- 
bor to drift* Two or three of the hulls had 
actually canted over on the rocky shore. 
Our own ship had come perilously close to 
disaster but had been towed back into the 
harbor in the nick of time. 

Finally she was anchored and our lighter 
slipped down to meet her. She was the Wind- 
sor Castle, a two-stacker of the South Afri- 
can mail line, a vessel of roughly twenty 
thousand tons with the pleasing, graceful 
lines of a yacht. Once on board, we were 
assigned our staterooms and quickly sat 
down to an excellent lunch. We relaxed. 

On talking to members of the crew we 
found that the night had been slii exciting 
one, Trouble started when an anchor chain 
snapped and the ship drifted rapidly towards 
the shore, suffering a hole in her bow when 
she collided with another vessel. At the last 
moment the remaining anchor grappled onto 
a heavy electrical cable that crosses the har- 
bor floor at this point and this contrived to 
halt further drifts. That afternoon most of 


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us went to bed to snatch a few hours of 

During the next two days we stayed put, 
shifting only with the tides. We spent our 
time looking over our ship, and "we" meant 
all 2 J 00 of us. She was a commodious, com- 
fortable ship, more approachable and more 
personal than the awesome Queen, We felt 
at home. The steward showed us with some 
pride where new woodwork had been in- 
stalled in the lounge to cover bomb damage. 
In this ship, as in the Queen, the top decks 
were heavy with armament, a reassuring 
token that she could give as well as take. 

Those wintry days bred a penetrating chill 
and trips to the deck were of short duration. 
Again we saw the large harbor surrounded 
by the stone houses of the villagers and 
herded in the lap of the encircling Scotch 
mountains, The water was teeming with the 
traffic of a busy port, swelled to four times 
its normal capacity by the exigencies of war. 
The smoke from hundreds of stacks cast a 
perpetual pall. There were all kinds of ves- 
sels around us. Tramps and cargo steamers 
predominated but there were plenty of 
lighters, ferries, water boats, oil tankers, in- 
spection craft* motor boats, and supply 
ships, each like a mother hen with its brood 
of scampering chicks. There were the pala- 
tial ocean liners and the troop transports like 
our own. There were the men-of-war: 
snaky submarines, perky destroyers, racy 
cruisers, and stately carriers. And overhead, 
the constant drone of watchful aircraft. 

We noticed nearby that one of the harbor 
repair craft was dredging up and down con- 
stantly* On the afternoon of the second day 
the captain on the bridge shouted through a 
megaphone that his grapples had picked up 
a heavy mechanical object which, he hoped, 
would be the anchor and chain lost by the 
Windsor Castle. It was like watching a play, 
the dramatis pcrsottac being very conscious 
of the stage and determined to put on a good 

show. We watched for the next two hours 
as the small vessel tussled with the great an- 
chor and chain, all to the megaphone- 
shouted exhortations of her master. When 
the articles were safely stowed aboard, the 
whistle blew a triumphant wail and we, the 
spectators, broke into applause* 

One more job had to be attended to: the 
repair of the hole in the bow. Relays of men 
working night and day mixed cement to 
close the gap and thus prepare her for the 

On awakening the next morning we 
found that we were in motion. We were 
leaving the snug safety of the firth. By noon 
the motion increased as we knifed through 
the ground swells of the Irish Sea. We were 
taking the most direct route south instead 
of circumnavigating Ireland. 

The next morning found us in the sun-lit 
open ocean with the air several degrees 
warmer. Our convoy consisted of five ships 
and three escort craft. The convoy leader 
was an old Cunarder, I think the Scythia. 
There was a top-heavy Dutchman of the 
Holland America Line and the sleek Mon- 
arch of Bermuda, These four, together with 
a cargo ship, were escorted by three destroy- 
ers which darted all around. Every few min- 
utes the ships would change their positions 
at the signal-flag instructions of the convoy 
commander. Sometimes we were in two col- 
umns, sometimes in three, now we would be 
heading the convoy, the next moment we 
would be bringing up the rear. These great 
liners moved at the will of the small bits of 
colored cloth fluttering from the mast! 

One bright day merged into the next one. 
Each morning started off with the bass voice 
of our steward saying "Top of the morning 
to you, sir' as he rattled tea cups on a tray 
for our matutinal delectation. Rise, salt- 
water bath, and breakfast was the order of 
the day. After some little time for odds and 
ends we disposed of the remainder of the 


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morning with a boat drill. The rest of the 
day was S.O.P.: eating, sleeping, reading, 
card playing, or just plain talking. In this 
fashion one day slipped into another, each 
one a replica of the previous one, and each 
one a little warmer than the previous one. 
We neither saw nor heard the enemy, but 
he was never very far. One day we maneu- 
vered and back-tracked unceasingly because 
of the proximity of a wolf pack of sub- 
marines. We made only twenty miles that 

Towards evening of the sixth day we 
fetched land and the convoy poured itself 
into the funnel that is the Strait of Gib- 
raltar. It was a night of breathless beauty, 
crowned by a deep purple sky with myriads 
of twinkling stars. On starboard, the lights 
of Tangiers stabbed into the sky against the 
background of the shadowy hills. Lights f 
What a wondrous thing after the complete- 
ness of the blackout in England* 

On our portside the tip of Spain gave 
way to the pillars of Hercules, the sugar loaf 
of Gibraltar being dim, hazy, and mysterious 
in the eerie luminescence of the moon. Land 
dropped slowly astern. Once more we sailed 
into open water. We were entranced. None 
of us will ever forget the spectacle of that 
beautiful, moon-drenched night. 

Mid-afternoon of the following day 
brought the distant line of land to view on 
starboard and the convoy steamed towards 
it. The rail was jammed with excited people 
in eager anticipation of seeing a new, old 
continent. We approached slowly and saw 
Oran, The buildings started at the water 
line and climbed steeply up the hillsides, 
towering cliffs two thousand feet high. 
Overlooking the city was the white dome of 
the Church of Monte Christ o, while on the 
highest cliff of all was an old picture-book 
fort, haloed by white clouds. This was not a 
fresh> green land but a rocky, inhospitable 

The harbor of Ontn. Thii wn not a frcih, green land, but a rocky., mhoipitafale coait. 

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coast with nothing but dull, gray scrub for 

There was but little land visible. The 
town was entirely surrounded by hills, as- 
cending steeply in gigantic stepping stones. 
Only towards the harbor itself did the land 
slope gently. Here, in the shelter of cement 
dockways were cribbed about 30 ships, all 
engaged in the business of discharging war 
cargo. Our vessel passed these by and steamed 
towards the better protected harbor of Mers 
EI Kebir, three miles down the coast. 

Mers El Kebir is an excellent small port, 
fashioned by a concrete mole running out 
from a point that projects haJf a mile into 
the ocean. The Windsor Castle threaded its 
way through a complicated submarine net 
and to a vacant berth alongside the mole. 
Here, we were one of many. Ship after ship 
was snubbed down to the cement, the great 
hawsers appearing like thin lines in the dis- 
tance. These ships showed the scars of bat- 
tle. Some were in fresh paint but most 
showed the rust and grime and the batter- 
ing of hostile seas and hostile encounters. 
There were all kinds of them, from swift 
torpedo boats to the ponderous battleships 
Rodney and Nelson. These two vessels had 
been built at the time of the Washington 
Naval Conference and the sterns had been 
amputated just back of the aft mast. They 
looked strangely unfinished, 

It was late afternoon when the Castle 
finally docked* Word came that we would 
stay aboard for the night. Everyone was in 
high spirits for no matter how pleasant the 
trip had been, we had all been under ten- 
sion. Thank goodness that the open sea was 
behind us. That evening we went sightsee- 
ingj as much as we could from the deck of 
the boat, A busy port is always a fascinating 
sight to a landlubber. However I think that 
we were more interesting to the natives than 
they were to us because we attracted more 
than the usual number of catcalls, arm- 

wavings, and yoo-hoos from the shore. Per- 
haps our nurses had something to do with it. 

The next morning we marched off the 
Windsor Castle, loaded down with every- 
thing we had. We assembled in double file: 
nurses at the head, officers in the center, en- 
listed men in the rear. Halfway down the 
quay we ran headlong into the enemy! But 
no, it was only two photographers taking 
moving pictures. They stopped grinding as 
soon as the nurses were past. Evidently, we 
were not considered particularly photogenic. 
We weren't even particularly smart looking. 
We just lugged and dragged our valpaks 
along and when we came to the end of the 
quay we sat on them. Was it irony that am- 
bulances were ready to pick us up? 

All American troops arriving in Oran 
were supposed to go into bivouac fifteen 
miles east of the city on the hillside over- 
looking the village of Fleurise, This spot, 
for better or for worse (mostly worse) , had 
been their introduction to North Africa. 
The CTs had quickly dubbed the place Vino 


We too were deposited on this barren 
hillside covered with palmetto scrub, rocks, 
and debris. If the immediate surroundings 
were dreary, the view of the valley down 
below was superb. Rolling hills stretched 
away in all directions, the even rows of 
grapevines being broken only by an occa- 
sional farm cluster with orange and date 
groves. Soon we were surrounded, not by 
German snipers but by Arab beggars. They 
squatted on the ground, shrouded themselves 
with voluminous folds of dirty garments, 
and put down their reed baskets. We peeked. 
Oranges! We had not seen them for months. 
A barter trade sprung up* Ten oranges for 
one cigarette. We gorged ourselves. 

Except for these oranges, Vino Hill was 
a wash-out and Colonel Blatt took immedi- 
ate action. He scurried into Oran, located 
the billeting officer, and made a deal: the 

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officers and nurses could go to Boisseville, a 
small seaside resort with a number of un- 
occupied villas. The enlisted men were to 
stay, in charge of Major Broyles and Cap- 
tains Ralph Coffey, Plimpton, and Growdon. 
Colonel Blatt hastened back to camp with 
the good news. 

Thus it was that towards evening our 
trucks carried us back to Oran and beyond 
it. The road was fantastic: a narrow, treach- 
erous, twisting ribbon hewn out of the cliff- 
side. On one side of the road there was a 
sheer drop of three hundred feet into the 
ocean and on the other side an equally pre- 
cipitous wall of rock reaching up a thou- 
sand feet. Even in broad daylight I never 
felt very easy here. In the black-out of that 
first night it was spine-tingling. 

Thanks to our expert drivers we arrived 
all in one piece and took possession of our 
villas. Well might we be thankful because 
we had hardly put our heads down when a 
storm cattie up the like of which had not 
been seen for years. Rain came down in tor- 
rents and a gale blew in from the ocean for 
four solid days. Great, green rollers came 
smashing at the beach and at our houses. 
One of them tore down the door of my 

house and kept right on going until it hit 
the basement! When it receded we had four 
inches of water on the floor but even with- 
out that humdinger we would have been 
soaking wet because sheets of rain hit the 
house with such force that water was driven 
right through the cracks. When we went 
outside (as we had to three times a day to 
get to the mess) the mud came up to our 
shoetops. I shall never forget eating with 
the rain whipping in my face. Our cooks 
made valiant efforts to serve hot food but 
their efforts were in vain. My mess kit would 
be full of water before I was half through. 
Such was our dreary situation for four 
days. And yet we were privileged charac- 
ters. Weren't we sleeping on cots rather than 
on the ground? Just think of what the en- 
listed men went through!" 

So much for Captain Adams. The Wind- 
sor Castle had done its job well. And yet it 
had come uncomfortably close to disaster. 
Intent on saving time, the convoy had not 
made the usual wide arc around Ireland but 
had steered through the Irish Sea and skirted 
the Bay of Biscay. On the next trip German 

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submarines were forewarned and the Wind- 
sor Castle now lies on the bottom of the 
ocean somewhere off St. Nazaire, 

The Third Aux suffered its first casual- 
ties not on the high seas but on Vino Hill. 
Here, while everybody was dissipating his 
energies on the rocky slopes of the desolate 
hill, four officers decided on a more prom- 
ising pursuit, namely a reconnaissance for 
vino. They were phenomenally successful. 
In the village of Fleurise, a package of cig- 
arettes would buy innumerable bottles of 
the red liquid. One thing led to another and 
it was not till late in the evening that a 
happy but somewhat unsteady foursome be- 
gan groping a way back to camp. But where 
was camp? By the uncertain light of the 
waning moon, one hill looked about like the 
next one. The men went into a huddle. 

"I'm sure it's over there/' said Peyton. 

"No, it's over yonder," said Serbst* 

"Don't fight over it, boys* Just follow 
me/' said Haynes. 

"Why be in a hurry?" said Hatt. "I like 
it here." 

And to the tune of "There is a Camp at 
Haybrook's," he delivered the following im- 
mortal lines: 

An Auxiliary Group that is known as the 

J. Fred Blatt commanding (his friends 

call him "Ferd"). 
He gathered his crew from about every 

Their morals were low but their talents 

were great. 

At Fort Sam they assembled and learned 

to salute; 
They drilled now and then, and they 

gathered their loot. 
Some days they were cold and some days 

they were not, 
But from the latrine all the rumors were 


At Dodd Field the boys all lived out in a 

The summer passed by and the fall was 

near spent. 
Thanksgiving Day came and the very 

next day 
The post cleared and cheered: they were 

off and away. 

At last for Camp Kilmer they boarded a 

To wallow through mud in the wind and 
the rain. 

In the barracks to brawl and drink whis- 
key galore 

Or steal inco Brunswick in quest of some 

That week seemed a month to the most 

of the crew, 
But one morning assembly was called at 


Equipment was packed for a transocean 

And on December the 8 th from a port 
they were shipped. 

The crossing on Mary at first was a joy, 
But later the storm tossed the ship like a 

There were some who played poker from 

early till late 
And some kept to bunks while the good 

sailors ate. 

On the shores of the Clyde at last they 

set foot; 
Thence on to Cowley to freeze and 

breathe soot 
From little damn grates in the wall, just 

a hole. 
And with torches all dimmed crawled 

about like a mole. 


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The queue lines, the bicycles, the fog* and 

the grog; 
The mess hall that stank like a quagmired 

Professors from Oxford and ETO junk 
Drove some to hard liquor and others to 


To split up the crew came an order one 

Half were to go and a half were to stay. 
There was sadness and sorrow amongst all 

the pals, 
And some Britons were happy to get back 

their gals. 

After fifty-one days of distemper and 

They embarked for a sunbathed North 

African shore; 
And although with the Air Corps our 

nurses did rassel, 
A jolly good ship was the old Windsor 


Mare Nostra's warm blue and the lights 

of Tangier 
And Skipper Brown's faith truly made for 

good cheer. 
But a big smile was present on everyone's 

When the Castle was docked in the Port 

of Oran. 

In fair Boisseville, near Anus El Turk 
There were villas for billets and no signs 

of work. 
And the doggondest things that I ever 

have seen 
Was the Frenchman's idea of an inside 


To tents on the hilltop they moved us one 

The vin rouge was good and made every- 
one gay. 

A Q.M, four-holer and sitting-down mess, 

Oranges, sunshine and fresh eggs> no less. 

Ah, the change from old England, with 

its drizzle and beer, 
But they say there's a war on and that's 

why we are here. 

So now let's be off where the SB's roar 
And end this darned song* there just ain't 
any more. 

Thus, on 16 February 1943 in the little- 
known village of Fleurise, the Third Aux 
acquired a theme song, the Arabs were 
treated to some genuine American barber- 
shop harmony, and four Third Auxers were 
happily AWOL, They were the first of a 
long and distinguished line. 

Meanwhile at Boisseville there was great 
rejoicing. At last the Third Aux was com- 
ing to grips with the enemy. But where was 
the enemy? About three times as far away 
as he had been at Oxford! To understand 
the tactical situation in North Africa at 
this time it is necessary to review the events 
since 8 November. 

When American troops landed in North 
Africa, they quickly subdued all resistance. 
Within three days fighting ceased. The next 
objective now was Tunisia and the problem 
was to get there quickly. Both the Allies and 
the Germans made a dash for it. From Al- 
giers to Tunisia is about five hundred miles. 
From Sicily to Tunisia is only a hundred and 
twenty miles. The Germans therefore had 
the advantage of proximity. They had seized 
an airfield near Tunis as early as 10 Novem- 
ber and they were landing troops a day later. 

The Allies did not let any grass grow 
under their feet. British and American 
troops reached a point only twelve miles 
from Tunis on 29 November but they were 
hopelessly overextended. With their supply 
base five hundred miles to the rear and in 
the face of mounting air attack, they had 
to withdraw to a line running through Beja, 
It was now the middle of December and the 
weather became unfavorable for offensive 
operations. A stalemate developed. 


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Both sides worked feverishly at the task 
of consolidation. At the beginning of the 
year the opposing fronts ran north to south 
for two hundred miles from Mateuf to 
Gafsa. There was no continuous front how- 
ever, but rather a series of strong points- The 
greatest strength was in the north which was 
held by the British First Army. In the center 
and the south, the Americans and the French 
were stretched thinly over a distance of one 
hundred and fifty mites. 

By the middle of January an American 
combat team gathered in the Gafsa area and 
on >1 January this team launched an attack 
on Maknassy. The attack was only partly 
successful because the Germans broke 
through at Faid Pass shortly afterwards. It 
was this breakthrough that left the Amer- 
ican forces dangerously overextended when 
the Germans came back for their assault on 
the Kasserine Pass. 

The German drive started on 14 February, 
just a few days before the Third Aux de- 
barked at Mers El Kebir. The Americans at 
Gafsa were forced back in disorder under 
an onslaught of one hundred tanks, rein- 
forced by dive bombers. The Americans 
counterattacked but without decisive gains 
and the Germans now advanced towards 
Sbeitla. By 17 February they were threaten- 
ing the Kasserine Pass and the whole right 
wing of the Allied flank was in serious dan- 

The Germans followed up quickly. If they 
could seize the Kasserine Pass, the road to 
Algeria lay open. They made their effort on 
20 February. Under the heaviest artillery 
barrage of the campaign, they infiltrated the 
American positions and inflicted serious 
losses. The Americans withdrew. 

The position of the Americans was now 
very precarious. Only one strong point re- 
mained in their hands and this was Tebessa. 
The bombers saved the day. The Americans 
made a stand and stopped Rommel cold on 

22 February. Further north at Thala the 
result was the same and on 23 February 
Rommel was through. In eleven days he had 
gained fifty-five miles but it was a Pyrrhus 
victory. From here on he was on the retreat 
all along the line. 

The Allies now closed in on Tunisia from 
three fronts: The British First Army from 
the north, the Americans and the French 
from the center, and the British Eighth 
Army from the south. The Axis forces tried 
desperately to maintain their positions in the 
hills and keep the coastal plain safe for a 
union of their armies. The Allies adapted 
their strategy to this situation. For a month 
they simply parried. Then, on 17 March the 
American II Corps thrust twin spearheads 
towards Maknassy and El Guettar. It was 
this action in which Third Aux teams saw 
battle for the first time. 

Let us now return to Third Aux Head- 
quarters, When Colonel Blatt presented him- 
self at Base Section Headquarters in Oran 
on 16 February, he found to his dismay that 
his arrival was totally unexpected. Nobody 
had ever heard of an auxiliary surgical 
group, let alone know what to do with it. 
The only thing Colonel Blatt could do for 
the time being was to establish the Group 
in a camp commensurate with its dignity. 
Here, he ran into some real difficulties. To 
take its place in the combat zone, the Third 
Aux had to be self -sufficient. It needed what 
the Quartermaster calls housekeeping equip- 
ment. And yet without a table of allow- 
ances, such equipment was unobtainable. No 
self-respecting supply officer would issue 
equipment without authorization. Colonel 
Blatt remedied the situation only after much 
scurrying and scraping. He borrowed tents. 
He begged transportation. He expropriated 
mess equipment. And on 20 February the 
Third Aux took possession of a camp at Ain 


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El Turck. Situated a few miles east of Oran, 
the village of Ain El Turck was neither bet- 
ter nor worse than any of the hundreds of 
similar hamlets that dot the Mediterranean 
Coast in this part of the world. Captain 
Adams has described them well. 

"The typical village in French North 
Africa is picturesque from a distance but 
disappointing on the close-up. The most 
prominent building is the town hall, a solidly 
built structure of cement and plaster with 
tiled floors. From the flag pole flies the Tri- 
color of France. The second largest building 
is likely to be the Gendarmerie or police sta- 
tion with a severe facade and a somber in- 

The main shops are owned by the French, 
most of whom have spent many years in 
North Africa. Many were born there. There 
will be a bakery which is now reduced to 
making rationed bread. A knick-knack store 
will probably have a little cheap jewelry, 
some adulterated perfumes, a few picture 
postcards, and for the rest empty shelves. 
There is invariably a barber shop which also 
caters to the feminine element. You will find 
a drug store which has a bare minimum of 
crude antiseptics, dried herbs* and harsh 
laxatives. It is usual to find several cafes with 
outdoor tables where the populace sits sip- 
ping wine. Lastly there may be two general 
stores which sell some fresh produce from 
the farms in the vicinity, augmented by 
dates and cereals. The French people live 
simply. Their scarf of life is bread, wine, and 
onions. You will see them sitting outside in 
the backyard alongside their rabbit hutches 
and chicken coops. They ask little of life 
and get what they ask for. 

The native quarter is usually on the edge 
of the village. This is where the Arabs con- 
gregate. It is characterized by narrow, wind- 

ing streets full of garbage and debris that is 
thrown there by people who are too lazy 
to put it elsewhere. There are food shops, 
blacksmiths, tinsmiths, and perhaps a leather 
goods shop. Cafes are inevitable and they are 
well patronized for it seems difficult for an 
Arab to work after eleven o'clock in the 

These Arabs of the coastal range are a de- 
generate, diseased race with few skills or 
ambitions. Their religion breeds a fatalism 
by which they exist rather than live, A 
wealthy man is permitted as many as four 
wives and as many concubines as he can sup- 
port, but most of them are able to support 
only one of each kind. The women are sel- 
dom seen in public. They are left at home 
or they work in the fields because a woman 
is an economic asset which must be invested 
to its best advantage. An Arab usually owns 
an overworked donkey, a few goats, and 
some chickens, all of which live with the 
family in a 9 by 12 yard. The house has one 
room which is parlor, kitchen, dining room, 
and bedroom combined. There is no sewage 
system, Water comes from a common well 
usually near the place where the human ex- 
creta are saved to fertilize the miserable 
vegetable patches. Transportation is primi- 
tive. A few automobiles and buses run er- 
ratically on alcohol spirit or charcoal. Horses 
and carriages are for the affluent. The com- 
mon man moves on a donkey, on a bicycle, 
or on foot." 

Although Third Auxers now had the 
basic necessities of life, they were still a long 
way from delivering the goods. The battle- 
field was ^ivc hundred miles away and the 
hospitals in Oran had little use for additional 
personnel. Nevertheless, in the same gesture 
that had prompted SOS Headquarters in 
England to put the teams Co work, Base Sec- 
tion Headquarters in Oran attached about 


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half of the teams to the functioning hos- 
pitals. These teams had little opportunity to 
distinguish themselves. 

Nurses were assigned separately. The first 
contingent to be shipped was a group of fif- 
that were supposed to be urgently 


needed at the 7th Station Hospital Their 
orders arrived on 17 February in the middle 
of the rainstorm. Nothing would do but an 
immediate departure. The 7th Station Hos- 
pital was not far from Boisseville but even a 
short trip seems long in an open truck over 
slippery roads through a driving rain. Thor- 
oughly soaked* these nurses presented them- 
selves at the receiving ward, Alas! The 7th 
Station Hospital had never had less work. 
However, it was good training for the fu- 

ture: always a mad rush to pack up, always 
a departure in the dead of night or in a driv- 
ing rain, always a rough ride in the back 
of a truck, always the same greeting on ar- 
rival "Who sent you here? We had no idea 
that you were coming!" 

For the enlisted men the situation was but 
little better. They did guard duty, worked 
in the mess, and went on fatigue detail. That 
was about all* This first month in North 
Africa was indeed a bitter disappointment. 

On 10 March Colonel Blatt had a confer- 
ence with General Blesse, the Surgeon of the 
Mediterranean Theater (North Africa had 
meanwhile become an independent theater) . 
This conference had most important conse- 
quences. As yet there were no teams at the 

Third Aux nurtet in the Mediterranean Theater. Note the uncenvenrienel uniform*. Left to 
right: Gerhard, Andreko, Atsclin, Bl*ew, Bern kit, Aird, Niemeyer (chief), Bavtt, Parker, Bruce, 

Ben horn, Dcrtan. 


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front except for a few Second Aux teams 
who were roaming the Tunisian hills in 
desultory fashion. The Third Aux was eager 
to get to work. The Second Aux had just 
arrived* General Blesse and Colonel Blatt 
discussed how to use all this surgical talent. 

There were two conflicting schools of 
thought. The first school held that the teams 
should go far forward in order to see the 
casualties early. The second school held that 
trained surgeons are too valuable to be risked 
far forward, Consequently the choice lay 
between ( 1 ) sending the teams to the clear- 
ing stations where they would see the casual- 
ties early but under poor working conditions 
and (2) keeping the teams back in the hos- 
pitals where they would be properly 
equipped but at a considerable distance from 
the front. 

In the absence of any precedent, General 
Blesse and Colonel Blatt decided to try both 
methods. In the Tunisian campaign which 
was now rapidly taking shape, teams would 
go forward as far as the clearing station but 
they would also work at the surgical hospital 
and the evacuation hospital. In addition, 
they would be attached to British units to 
learn from their battle-wise brothers, 

Such was the news Colonel Blatt brought 
back to Ain El Turck and it electrified the 
men. Life on a North African plateau was 
rapidly losing its zest. In the words of 
Captain Adams: 

"If bo*edom and absolute stagnation are 
to be avoided, a man must make a fetish of 
matters which ordinarily go unnoticed in 
the routine of existence. Take for example 
the airing of a bed. This must be thought 
about, a day determined, the quality of the 
sunshine assessed. The sleeping bag is then 
carefully taken out into the sun and turned 
in such a way as to catch every available 
actinic ray. When after a thorough-going 
discussion the length of exposure has been 
decided on, the bedding is gathered up in 

leisurely fashion and brought in with metic- 
ulous care. This constitutes a whole morn- 
ing's work," 

There was only one man who beat the 
tedium of camp life and that was Captain 
Hudson. As itinerant teeth extractor, Hud- 
son had his own jeep which was the envy of 
his tentmates. One day Hudson drove up, 
parked the jeep in the middle of the com- 
pany street, and went into the Headquarters 
tent. It was a golden opportunity. Mischief 
makers pushed the jeep into Hudson's own 
tent where it was completely out of sight. 
Several minutes later Hudson emerged. His 
jeep was gone! Sympathetically, a fellow 
Third Auxer pointed out that anybody who 
loses a jeep is supposed to refund the cost of 
the vehicle besides paying a stiff fine. Hud- 
son almost had a hemorrhage before he dis- 
covered that his jeep was hidden under his 
nose. From then on, he always chained his 
vehicle to the nearest tree. 

The only extracurricular diversion at Ain 
El Turck consisted in barter with the Arabs- 
Here the Third Aux produced a champion 
in the form of Captain Hagerty who was 
quickly nicknamed Abdul Akim. His 
method was to buy wholesale and sell piece- 
meal. Business was brisk but on the whole 
Third Auxers were the losers. An Arab is 
a hard man to beat on his own ground. 

All this changed when Colonel Blatt came 
back from his visit with Colonel Blesse, 
Great was the excitement, A few days later 
the first teams to go to the front were an- 

Major Francis M. Findlay, Capt. Marion 

E. Black, l.t. Wentworth L. Osteon, T-S 
Harold J. Mcin?., T-S Allen A. Ray. 

Major Watkins A. Broyles, Capt. Philip 

F, Partington, Lt. Rocco Telia, T-5 John S. 


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Page, T-4 Clifford C. Inman, T-4 Dan 


Capt, Ralph R. Coffey, Lt, John A. Grow- 
don, Lt. Maurice Schneider, T-4 Clarence 

Moody, T-4 James Battles. 

Capt, James J. Whitsitt, T-5 James C, 
Fish, T-5 Claude "W. Thomas. 

Colonel Blatt personally briefed the men: 

"You are to report to Headquarters II 
Corps, somewhere in the Tebessa area," he 
said. "Better bone up on your hasty en- 
trenchments. There's a shooting war on 
over there." 

Then Captain Bauerle, the Intelligence 
Officer, stepped forward. With his usual 
dead-pan, Bauerle delivered the coup it 

"And when you are captured, all you can 
give out is your name, rank, and serial 

There was a moment of silence. The men 
were visibly shaken. Then Telia inquired: 

"Yes, sir. And do we get a letter of in- 
troduction to che Germans at the same 

On 18 March the teams reported at the 
Operations Desk of the Oran airfield. The 
lieutenant on duty shook his head: 

"Yes, we can let you have two C-47's 
but we have no fighter escort and I don't 
know how far forward we can go.*' 

"That's all right," said Coffey. "As long 
as we go in the general direction." 

The planes taxied up. 

"Say fellows! Do you see the name on 
that plane?' 1 said Telia, "Cold Turkey. 
Sounds bad to me." 

"A bad omen," came Broyles. 

Bad omen or not, the trip was miserable. 
The pilots sought safety at treecop level and 
they hedge-hopped all the way. They clung 
to every hill, every valley, every feature of 

the terrain. Up and down, to the left, to 
the right, it was like dodging traffic on 
Broadway. Before Jong, Third Auxers were 
sick as dogs. Finally the ordeal was over 
and the planes came down. 

"Where are we?" asked Coffey. 


"Constantine? That's a long way from 
Tebessa, isn't it?" 

"Well, it isn't exactly next door, Captain, 
but we can't take you any farther without 
fighter escort." 

Coffey's blood began to boil. Here he 
was on his first mission, stymied because his 
pilot was faint of heart. Was he going to 
be thwarted this way? Hell no! The teams 
simply had to get on. Drawing himself up 
to his full length, he imperiously addressed 
himself to the pilot: 

"Lieutenant^ I presume you know your 
business. I am fully aware that we are run- 
ning a considerable risk in going to Tebessa 
but I also know that at this very moment 
American soldiers are dying for lack of 
medical attention. Do you want to deny 
those soldiers their chance to live?" 

The pilots looked at each other somewhat 

"All right, Captain, jump in, We'll take 

On they went, heading straight for 
Mcsserschmitt lane. Less than an hour later 
the planes came down again, this time in 
the middle of nowhere. The area was com- 
pletely deserted. The men got out. 

"Where arc wc now?" asked Coffey. 

"About ten miles from Tebessa. And 
you're damn lucky you got here. Good-by." 

The pilots gunned their engines, the planes 
took off, and the Third Auxers looked 
around. If this was the front, it was a very 
lonely place indeed. Nothing but rolling 
hills, barren plains, and leaden skies. There 
was absolutely nothing to indicate human 


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activity. Not even so much as a tent. It 
started to rain. Soon the men were trans- 
formed into something resembling a wet 

Coffey took his bearings. There were no 
stars but he had a keen sense of direction. 
Taking three others with him, he started 
out through the trackless waste. Eventually 
he found a trail which became a dirt road. 
The road led to some railroad tracks and 
here, in a small shack, Coffey found a de- 
tachment of Signal Corps men, 

"Sergeant, we are looking for II Corps." 

"Sir, the last time I tried to get them it 
took six hours," 

"Better get on that line right away^ ser- 

Exhausted, the Third Auxers sprawled on 
the ground while the sergeant got busy, II 
Corps was at Youks-les-Bains, about ten 
miles away. A truck was dispatched. It ar- 
rived in the middle of the night. The men 
piled in. They went to Youks-les-Bains, re- 
ported to the Corps Surgeon, received in- 
structions, and went back to pick up the 
others, all in a driving rain. It was a night 
such as one wouldn't wish on his worst 

Major Findlay took his team to the 16th 
Medical Regiment at Sbeitla. Captain Coffey 
took his team to the clearing station of the 
y 1st Medical Battalion at Gafsa. Major 
Broyies took his men to another clearing 
station of the Hst Medical Battalion at 
Feriana. Second Aux teams were already at 
work at these clearing stations but they were 
desperately in need of relief. Third Auxers 
rolled up their sleeves. The date was 20 

Of this first run, Captain Growdon later 
wrote in his diary as follows, 

"The 5 1st medics were set up in an old 
French hospital near Gafsa. We arrived on 
22 March and found the hospital swamped. 
There was one team of the Second Aux at 

work but they had a backlog of 79 patients! 
We went to work immediately. Just behind 
the hospital was an ammunition dump, We 
were told that the dump was a nightly target 
for Nazi bombers and sure enough, Charley 
came over. Ralph Coffey had just finished a 
case when the first bomb dropped. He was 
getting some plaster ready for my patient 
when the concussions rocked the walls. I 
thought the place was going to blow up and 
ducked under a table, although I don't know 
what protection that would have been. 
When I looked up, I saw Ralph standing 
over me, plaster in one hand, helmet in 

'Which do you want?* he said. 

'Helmet. 1 

'Okay,' he said. 'Come and get it/ 

I crawled out. I never saw a man as 
calm as Ralph. 

A few days later Maurice Schneider, our 
anesthetist, became ill and we sent back to 
Broyies* team for Telia. Telia thought that 
Schneider had been killed in action and he 
went to Gafsa expecting the worst. We soon 
set him right and he proved himself equal 
to the occasion. 

Casualties continued to pour in. After a 
while we discovered that we could work two 
tables if we had an extra anesthetist. Con- 
sequently, we sent back for yet another man. 
Serena was picked. Knowing that Schneider 
had lasted just three days and Telia two, 
Serena thought: 'What is this? Open season 
on anesthetists at Gafsa? God forbid!' He 
left his station convinced that he was on a 
suicide errand. Words cannot describe his 
relief when he learned the true situation," 

Back at Am El Turck life soon reverted 
to the usual routine. From Oran to the 
fighting front was a distance of five hun- 
dred miles. Obviously, this was much too 
far, A move was in order. 


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Between Oron and Constantino lie* the Grand Dorsal, a steep mountain range intersected by 
deep, Icnire-lrke gorge*. This M a scene near Mascara. 


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Arrangements began early in Aprif. Col- 
onel Blatt wheedled 18 trucks from the 
Quartermaster. Roads being what they were, 
the plans called for a three-day trip. An 
advance detail left on 5 April, the main 
convoy the following day. 

Between Oran and Constantine lies the 
Grand Dorsal, a steep mountain range inter- 
sected by deep* knife-like gorges. Over these 
narrow, twisting, dusty roads, the trucks 
made slow progress and everybody breathed 
a sigh of relief when the convoy pulled up 
for its first bivouac near Orleansville. The 
area seemed ideal. There wasn't a human 
habitation for miles around. However, if 
Third Auxers thought that this gave them 
protection from the wandering Arabs, they 
were mistaken. Before the sleeping bags had 
been unloaded, the first Arabs were already 
beginning to infiltrate and by the time sup- 
per was ready, there were swarms of them. 
These Arabs had just one purpose: to snoop 
and to steal. And they were past masters. 
They would hide under the trucks, inside 
the trucks, and even m the latrines. No one 
was safe. It was nothing for an Arab to 
sneak into a tent, open up a bedding roll, 
help himself to what he wanted, and steal 
away. Even officers had to do guard duty! 

The second day was like the first* The 
country became more mountainous. At 
night the convoy drew up in a vineyard near 
the village of Arba. The bivouac site here 
was on a steep slope and many a man who 
spread his sleeping bag at the top found 
himself at the bottom when morning came. 
In spite of such handicaps, Sergeant Mont- 
gomery had a steaming hot breakfast ready. 
He kept his ranges going even while the 
trucks were rolling. 

The third morning dawned clear and cold. 
The road now entered the most rugged 
stretches. There were detours^ wash-outs, 
blown bridges, and steep passes. At night- 
fall the trucks were still a full sixty-five 

miles from Constantine. Colonel Blatt de- 
cided to push on. Had he known the con- 
dition of the road he would have hesitated. 
Traffic was single Jane. Roads were little 
more than tracks. Darkness settled. The 
only guide was a dimmed-out tail-light. 
Signs began to appear; TRAVEL AT 
Third Auxers who went back the next day 
marveled how the drivers had managed to 
stay on a road beset with narrow trestles and 
vertical cliff sides. It was a hair-raising ex- 
perience. But finally, nine of the trucks 
arrived at Ain M'Lila, the new camp. Then 
Colonel Blatt made a sickening discovery. 
The other nine trucks had disappeared! 
There was only one plausible explanation: 
These trucks had come to grief. They must 
all be piled up in one of the ravines. 

The fears proved to be ungrounded. The 
tail end of the convoy had become lost in 
Constantine. All night they drove around 
in the blackout and they only made their 
way to Ain M'Lila with the aid of a native 
guide. Colonel Blatt opened his third pack- 
age of cigarettes. At least he still had an 
outfit to command. 

Life was not bad at Ain M'Lila. The 
country was hilly with more vegetation than 
around Oran and the altitude made for a 
crisp, invigorating atmosphere. Constantine 
was an ancient metropolis in a fascinating 
setting. In the opposite direction was the 
Sahara Desert in all its awesome vastness. 
Many other units were bivouacked in the 
vicinity and more were arriving every day. 
The Third Aux settled down once more. 
An officers* club got under way. 'Abdul 
Akim' set up shop. Black-market restau- 
rants in Constantine did a land-office busi- 
ness. A dinner of rabbit or goat or chicken 
with plenty of eggs and plenty of vino came 
to about twelve dollars. Even so, the men 
kept their eyes fixed on Tunisia where the 
Axis Armies were now rapidly being herded 


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into a corner. Colonel Blatc wanted his 
teams in on the kill. The only way he could 
do it was by attaching them to British units. 
Except for the two neurosurgical teams 
which had gone to work in the Constantine 
area in March, no further teams were dis- 
patched until well towards the end of the 
campaign. On 24 April, seven teams went 
north to be attached to the British 97th Gen- 
eral Hospital. On 2 May the six remaining 
teams went to the Souk El Khemis area to 
serve with other British general hospitals 
and with the If 9th Field Ambulance and 
Casualty Clearing Station, the equivalent of 
an American evacuation hospital. Mean- 
while the five teams that had been flown to 
Tebessa on 18 March finished the campaign 
partly with the 48th Surgical Hospital and 
partly with the 16th Medical Regiment at 

Only seventeen nurses saw action in Tu- 
nisia. Fifteen were rushed to Beja on 8 May 

to help at the 58th Evacuation Hospital and 
two nurse anesthetists served with the 15th 
Evacuation Hospital. The remaining nurses 
served with station hospitals where they 
practiced mostly patience. 

The final phase of the Tunisian campaign 
took place in the northeastern corner of the 
country where Von Arnim and Rommel had 
managed to join forces. Their total strength 
was approximately 15 divisions. The Allies 
had approximately IS divisions of which 
roughly two-thirds were British and the re- 
mainder American, There now took place 
a rapid shift. The American II Corps, which 
had been active in the center, was sent north 
to Sidi Nsir with Mateur as its objective. 
The British First Army was sent south to 
Medjez El Bab with Tunis as its objective. 

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Lift wot not bad at Ain M'Lilc. The nurses go partying. Left to rifaht: Van Sr-otcn, Noee, 
Bernicb, K inch ling, Benham, Radawiee. 


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These two sectors presented the most diffi- 
cult terrain. In the extreme north there 
was a French task force advancing towards 
Bizerte. The southern end of the line was 
held by the French and the British. 

While the British laid siege to Enfidaville, 
American troops pushed forward along the 
Mateur road and assailed Jefna* A second 
column seized control of Sidi Nsir. Here, 
during the last few days of April there 
ensued a fierce struggle for the Jebel Tahant, 
better known to Americans as Hill 609. The 
Germans were strongly entrenched on the 
commanding height and they could be dis- 
lodged only in hand to hand fighting. Hill 
609 fell on I May. 

This victory was decisive for the whole 
sector. Jefna was outflanked, Mateur fell 
on 3 May, and the Axis line crumbled. On 
6 May a two-pronged drive got under way: 
the British advanced on Tunis and the Amer- 
icans on Bizerte. These cities fell on 7 May, 
On 9 May the remnants of two Nazi divi- 
sions surrendered unconditionally to the 
Americans at Bizerte. The rest of the Axis 
forces further south tried to retreat toward 
Cap Bon but British tanks cut them off. On 
12 May all organized resistance ceased. 

Throughout the Tunisian campaign the 
lack of transportation weighed heavily on 
the Third Aux. Every team move became a 
complicated maneuver with long delays, last- 
minute cancellations, and interminable 
waits. Let us listen to this story of Captain 

"Our teams had been alerted. Immediate- 
ly all was bustle. Soiled laundry was gath- 
ered up, equipment was checked and pol- 
ished, bedding rolls were packed and un- 
packed. Here was purposeful living once 
more. On the appointed Wednesday we 
were ready and full of fire. As the after- 

noon passed into evening we were still wait- 
ing around, our enthusiasm tempered by the 
thought that after all we were a part of 
the Army. Our lives would have to mesh 
with the gears of a great and complicated 
machine. Tomorrow we would surely move. 
Thursday came and went, leaving us sitting 
on our cots, our hope turning to hopeless- 
ness, but it did bring us the information 
that our orders were through and that we 
were awaiting a hospital train. It was 
thought that the train would move the fol- 
lowing evening. By Friday we had resumed 
our accustomed lethargic state when a ter- 
rific cloudburst made us all but forget the 
impending trip. 

Thunder rumbled in the distance, The sky 
blackened. The wind began to blow in 
whorls, picking up funnels of dust which 
danced and snaked and finally whirled away 
into the distance. Rain came down in tor- 
rents for two solid hours. At times the drum- 
ming on the tent was deafening, as hail stones 
the size of moth balls bounced white on the 
sodden red earth. Before long our hillside 
was covered with a two-inch layer of muddy 
water, each pelting drop raising a small 
geyser. There was a two-foot gully which 
ran down the hillside near our tent. From 
the half-open flap we watched this become 
a rushing torrent and spread out into a 
miniature lake a hundred feet below. It en- 
gulfed a tent whose occupants came troop- 
ing out, shovel in hand, to deepen the sur- 
rounding trench, But there was no more 
chance of success here than there was for 
old King Canute when he ordered the waves 
to stop at his feet. A truck was mired up 
to its axles. From the snug dryness of the 
tent wc watched the storm pass in front of 
us and finally expend its power upon the 
solid mountainsides across the valley. 

After the rain had fairly stopped we were 
overwhelmed with inquiring camp mates. 
We were entirely unaware of the reason for 
their solicitude at first, but wc soon found 


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out that they had been watching our tent 
from a vantage point behind us from which 
it seemed as though the rising river of water 
had washed through our tent. Far from be- 
ing concerned about our lack of dryness 
they were settling their bets that we had 
been washed out. 

All Saturday morning the sky was full of 
drizzle. Footing became precarious. It was 
necessary to take small, slow steps to keep 
from sliding. The soles of our shoes collected 
great clods of mud until the sheer weight 
and bulk of the clod made walking impos- 
sible. It was in this extremity that we heard 
in midafternoon that we were to be en- 
trained that same evening. The camp be- 
came alive with the bustle of packing, tak- 
ing down of tents, and the au revoirs of 
those who were left behind. 

We drove in blacked-out trucks to the 
unhghtcd station, arriving in ample time to 
catch the hospital train at ten o'clock. 
Shortly after that hour the station master 
came to tell us that the train would not 
appear until eleven, We stood around the 
small waiting room amid the glow of ciga- 
rettes with banter and small talk filling the 
air. Fortunately it was too dark to see the 
floor, for besides its accustomed layer of 
dust and litter we had added many a chunk 
of dirt from our mud-caked boots. Thus, 
another hour passed. 

The station master now informed us that 
the train would not be in until midnight, 
We settled ourselves once more, refreshed 
with a sandwich and a pot of coffee that a 
thoughtful mess sergeant had sent down. 
After the long, slow hour of midnight had 
tolled by, the station master confessed that 
he did not know when the train would ap- 
pear and that we had best make ourselves as 
comfortable as possible. Most of us took 
off our gear and stretched on the floor or on 
the few available benches. The talk died 
down. The hours dragged by. Being unable 
to sleep, I wandered around and found a 

poker game proceeding under the dancing 
shadows of a lantern. The French station 
master was there with an English transport 
officer and three American officers. I watched 
the play until about three o'clock, A train 
came panting into the station. Everybody 
roused up. Our hopes were soon dashed. 
This was only a freight train. The engineer 
was able to tell us however that the hospital 
train had been scheduled to leave Algiers an 
hour behind his train. This was definite 
news and so with returning hope the time 
passed a little more quickly. 

It was half past four when a rumble of 
steam and carriages proclaimed another 
visitor to the station. We could see the red 
crosses on the white squares in the half-light 
and this time we would not be denied. There 
were complications though, for the train 
master had no orders to pick us up and thus 
had made no provision. We persuaded him 
that we had A-l priority and he emptied a 
few compartments into which we crowded. 

As dawn came over the mountains we 
steamed into a rising sun. Noon brought us 
to Guelrna. There we found Colonel Poston 
awaiting us with an ambulance which took 
us to the British 97th General Hospital, We 
lunched and settled, pitching our tents on a 
slope facing a magnificent mountain range- 
In the late afternoon Colonel Atkins showed 
us the tent hospital It was a well-managed 
plant of about a thousand bed capacity, A 
convoy of casualties was expected that eve- 
ning. The colonel assigned us wards and 
reviewed the procedure to be followed. He 
was a fine, well-spoken chap who had spent 
a week at the Lahey Clinic on a trip to 
America and had also spent some time in 
Baltimore. That evening the convoy arrived 
and we started our rounds. At the same time 
Colonel Poston received a telegram. We 
were urgently needed forward. After a few 
hours of sleep we were up at dawn, repacked 
our duffle, and struck our tents. Everything 
was stowed on ambulances and away we 


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went, riding atop our baggage. Soon we 
were tossed around on top of an assortment 
of barracks bags, cots, tents, blankets, duffle, 
and what-nots of all kinds. 

It was a hot, bright sun that beat upon 
us that morning. As the vehicles climbed 
higher and higher, the sun climbed higher 
too, but while its traverse was straight, our 
pathway was a twisting, tortuous, hairpin 
ribbon of dusty road. Every passing con- 
veyance on that well-traveled highway was 
encased in a moving column of dust which 
settled on clothing and skin, irritated the 
eyes, and choked the nostrils. 

By midmorning the inside of the ambu- 
lance was as hot as a furnace and over the 
protestations of the driver, whose rules called 
for the doors to be closed, we swung the 
doors wide open. This permitted a little 
more air to circulate and consequently more 
of the choking dust to enter, but by this 

time our senses were scarcely able to ap- 
preciate the difference. The scenery was 
good but not grand, hardly sufficient to 
make us forget our discomfort. At one 
o'clock we came to a halt in Souk Arras 
where we were told we could eat at the 
Hotel Orientale. 

Normally we would not have given this 
dog-eared hostel a second glance but under 
these circumstances it became an oasis in a 
land of sand, Its plain, square, high-ceil- 
mgcd room was cool and the air was clear 
of dust. "We had a surprisingly good meal: 
soup, roast pork, vegetables, green salad, and 
a dessert of fresh fruit, all washed down 
with pin rose ordinaire. Five of us matched 
coins to see who would pay for the food. 
Reginald Rilling lost. We were loath to 
leave the comfort of the inn but we had to 
push on. 

Third Aux nursei in the Mediterranean Theater. Henry, hobel Johnion, Harper, Grimes, Eitev 
Doty, JeitOp, Ford, Kirschling, Laden, Ferber, Keyci. 


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As the afternoon progressed the traffic be- 
came thicker. We descended into a broad, 
flat valley. Signs of war multiplied. Air- 
planes droned overhead. Guns and tanks 
were added to the never-ceasing traffic. Our 
vehicles joggled, jostled, bumped, and 
groaned along. Finally we came to a stop in 
front of the monastery which was our des- 

We forced our cramped limbs into un- 
willing motion. The commanding officer 
gave us an incredulous look. We must have 
been an unlikely lot under the cloaking 
mantle of dust. His welcome was genuine 
however because these doctors had been 
working for thirty hours without rest. While 
we dawdled in the railroad station they were 
working their hearts out. Their eyes were 
red and their legs bound up to keep the 
swelling down. There is no topic to the 
human mind like the knowledge that one's 
skill and ability are being sought. Though 
tired in body, we were exhilarated because 
here was the fulfillment of our African 

After the fighting ceased Third Auxers 
relaxed. With the tension off, many of them 
now had a chance to look around and see 
what the war had done. Here again, Captain 
Adams proved himself an articulate observer. 

"For several days and nights we had stayed 
at the grim task of caring for the wounded> 
probing for jagged steel, tying spurting ar- 
teries, closing torn chests, repairing lacerated 
organs, or just giving a hypo and a word of 
encouragement to those who were beyond 
help. After this sorry business the fact that 
hostilities were over brought joy to the heart 
and a lift to the step. It was in holiday mood 
that five of us climbed aboard a truck and 

started out from our monastery in the cool 
of an early morning. 

Soon we found ourselves in the middle of 
a vast traffic* Opposing us was a constant 
stream of vehicles billowing thick clouds of 
dust. Jeeps in jaunty disdain of more cum- 
bersome vehicles. Truckloads of soldiers, 
well pleased with the task just done. Trailers 
filled with duffle. Guns of all kinds, lugged 
by squeaking tractors. Small, sleek field- 
guns, mounted on two- wheeled chassis. 
Large howitzers, their snubbed snouts point- 
ing skyward* Huge 1 $$ mm cannon, hauled 
slowly by laboring half-tracks. Armored 
cars of all kinds. And convoys of POW*s. 
Mostly these men were quiet as though not 
quite understanding what had happened to 
them. Occasionally an arrogant group 
would come along, singing the songs that 
have primed German youth for war. Watch- 
ing the procession impassively from the 
roadside would be small groups of Arabs, 
squatting on their haunches, holding up two 
fingers in a begging gesture, offering an egg 
for barter, or just plain loafing (as their 
forebears have done for thousands of years) 
while their miserable donkeys shake off the 
pestering flies. 

My general impression was one of orderly 
confusion. Confusion of loud and raucous 
men, of loud and raucous machines. It was 
orderly partly because of the MP's but more 
so because of the signs: ENEMY MINE 
ONLY. Many were the holes where incau- 
tious wanderers had set off mines. 

From the top of the hill the roadway 
hairpinned its way into the terraced town 
of Beja. From a distance it looked like a 
fairy town of white houses, the contour 
broken only by towers and minarets. On 
the left was a large tile-roofed building with 
two red crosses. As we got into the town, 
it lost its charm and became a dirty, squalid, 
soiled collection of houses so typical of 
North Africa. On the outskirts thronged 


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the Arabs, unmindful of the hazards of 
traffic, safe under the protecting will of 
Allah. Every house showed bullet holes. 
Many were demolished entirely and the 
church tower had a large hunk taken out 
of it. A garage had one side blown out 
and was roofed only by twisted, broken 

We made our way along the plain towards 
Bizerte. By the roadside was a cluster of 
tents amid neatly stacked piles of ammuni- 
tion. Further on we saw a repair depot 
with hundreds of vehicles in various stages 
of repair. The miles passed by. In an olive 
grove were lines of trucks beside stacks of 
green-colored cans. This was a fuel dump, 
the very lifeblood of modern armies. Off 
to the right was a collection of barns, here 
too with a waiting queue of trucks. The 
pasteboard boxes looked familiar: Sparrd 

Do not expect in these times to find an 
army spread out in splendor before you. 
Self-preservation demands dispersal. These 
small groups are knit into a powerful army 
only by the slender threads of telephone 

In the plain of Sidi Nsir was more telling 
evidence of the tank battle. At a bend in 
the road we were startled by a collection of 
four demolished German tanks. Three of 
them were medium MARK IV's, One lay 
trackless, its guns awry. Another was de- 
capitated, its turret and gun in the roadway. 
Leaning against it was a third, canted over 
on its side. In the ditch was a huge MARK 
VI, its vent open to the sky and its steel 
arms in the air as if clawing at a merciless 
enemy. We stopped a moment to snap a 
picture and talk with three British colonels 
who were examining the tank with calipers 
and measuring devices. On we passed. Every 
hillock now seemed to be crowned by a 
blown-up tank, burned~out vehicle, or 
cracked cannon. In the next hollow we saw 
the skeleton of a plane and by the roadside 

two small white crosses. The gods of war 
are insatiable. 

We now left rhe battle-scarred valley be- 
hind and crested the hills to come at length 
to the rolling country around Bizerte. This 
was once a populous, beautiful city. But 
no longer. Never have I seen such sweeping 
destruction. Windows were empty of glass. 
Pillars and walls were broken. Rubble lay 
everywhere. Steel and wires were inextric- 
ably tangled. Every house lay gaping to the 
sunlight and bared to the four winds. Hard- 
ly a stone was left unturned. Bizerte was 
a deserted city, peopled only by ghosts. 

One view of the wrecked city was like 
any other, so we wasted no time and pushed 
southward towards Tunis, 

Ten miles out we passed long lines of refu- 
gees. Wagons were piled high with house- 
hold goods and laughing children. Horses 
were urged on by the barks of excited dogs. 
Donkeys trotted by, their Arab masters 
swaying precariously atop the hindquarters. 
Many were the horses carrying three riders, 
together with pigs, chickens, and household 
impedimenta. And there were those who 
traveled the long way back on foot, clutch- 
ing whatever treasures they had salvaged. 

In the distance was a great cloud of smoke. 
It came from a barbed-wire enclosure 
stretching away on either side of the road. 
Prisoners of war! On one side were the Ital- 
ians and on the other side the Germans. 
They had to be separated to keep them from 
coming to blows. The ground was entirely 
covered by tired men, sprawled out, smok- 
ing, silent, still, and glum. There were I 
don't know how many thousands of them, 
all watched by a handful of guards. A line 
of trucks was waiting to carry them to rear 
areas. As each area was cleared, the stubble 
was fired so that the trash and litter would 
be destroyed. 

At Abiod I stopped a sentry to inquire the 
way. Half a dozen soldiers at the crossroads 


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were holding two nondescript characters 
dressed in the tattered clothing of Arabs, 
These men had the fair skin and blue eyes 
of the Nordic race and furthermore they 
were wearing the heavy black boots of the 
German infantryman. The soldiers were 
sure that they had captured enemy spies. I 
very much doubt if these prisoners saw the 
light of another day. 

In the late afternoon we approached the 
outskirts of Tunis and turned off for Car- 
thage, the old Phoenician town which now 
is a residential suburb. Carthage was a beau- 
tiful village of houses and villas, untouched 
by war. The climate is kind here and all 
varieties of flowers grew in profusion on 
terraced gardens. We made at once for 
the beach* had a refreshing swim in the 
ocean, and ate our supper. The moon came 
out. We curled up in our sleeping bags and 
slept the sleep of the just, What a luxury! 

So we thought, until awakened at one 
o'clock by a patter of rain. We grabbed our 
clothing and bedding and retreated to the 
shelter of the truck where we slumbered 
fitfully for the rest of the night on the un- 
yielding boards. 

The next morning the sun was shining 
once more. We stopped in the cicy of Tunis 
and looked around. It seemed like any other 
city. The streets were filled with soldiers of 
all Allied forces and progress was difficult. 
We had soon seen all we wished and drove 
out as quickly as possible. 

Turning westwards towards Thibar we 
came upon the plain of Medjes El Babb. This 
is the site of the fierce battle for Long Stop 
Hill and Green Hill. 

We now got into the stream of rearward 
traffic, and were held up for half an hour at 
a crossroads village, Jerry had blown up the 

I 3 

Third Auk nurses in rhe Mediterranean Theater. Trainer, Worry, Ryan, Shfmp r Gladys Snyder, 
Ryantj Miller, McDonald, Lorinfv Van Straten, Nate, Radawiee. Retha Stoker it in thi* picture 

but hidden from view. 


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bridge. A temporary span permitted one- 
way traffic, but this was entirely inadequate. 
It was here that we saw a company of 
Goums, the hardy native soldiers who have 
the reputation of being the toughest fighters 
in the world. 

Finally we were through the jam at Beja. 
We were stopped by two soldiers in Italian 
uniforms. We deduced from their broken 
English that they were inquiring the where- 
abouts of the nearest Italian prisoner of war 
camp. They wished to assure themselves of 
a meal and lodging for the night! 

From Bizerte to Thibar was a short ride 
and soon we were shaking the sand from our 
bedding and removing the layers of dust 
from our persons. In two days we had seen 
more of the war than in all the previous 
three months. It was a post-mortem view 
but it had opened our eyes. Tunisia will 
not be the same for many years. God only 
knows what is in store for Europe." 

Captain Adams traveled by truck, a de- 
pendable but uncomfortable mode of trans- 
portacion. Many Third Auxers thought that 
they could do better and Captain Growdon 
was one of them. Camped on the outskirts 
of Mateur, Growdon kept a sharp lookout 
for extracurricular vehicles. One day, as he 
was trudging along the road, he saw a racy, 
underslung phaeton coming towards him. 
There was a familiar figure at the wheel. 
This looked exactly like the colonel that he 
had operated on several weeks earlier. He 
held up his hand. 

"Walt a minute. Colonel. That looks 
pretty fancy. Any more where this one 
came from?" 

"Sure, lots of them." 

"What's the chance of getting one?" 

"Excellent. You can take this one here. 
Just take me back to the dump and I'll get 
another one for myself." 

With that, the Colonel moved over and 
Growdon jumped in, quite overwhelmed by 
this unexpected windfall. He took a driving 
lesson on the way to the dump and spent 
the rest of the day touring the environs. 

The fun lasted just two days. Then an 
order came out that no American troops 
were to drive captured German vehicles, 
Growdon was crestfallen. The next day he 
found himself in conversation with some 
British officers. 

"I say, this war is getting bloody awful. 
Do you know how they have done us now? 
They've put out an order that we can't 
drive our French civilian cars any more!" 

Growdon saw a ray of light. 

"Does it say anything about British troops 
riding in German cars?" he inquired cau- 

"No, by Jove. Just French cars. Have 
yon seen any German cars around here?" 

"Tell you what/ 1 said Growdon. "1*11 
trade you three of my German phaetons for 
three of your French sedans. I'll even give 
you a driving lesson." 

The swap was made the same hour. Tri- 
umphantly, Growdon returned to his biv- 
ouac. His plan was to keep his cars under 
cover until it was time to return to Constan- 

The scheme worked well for a few days. 
Then the commanding officer of the hospital 
spied the private motor pooh He almost had 
a stroke. 

"Get those damn cars out of here, Cap- 
tain/* he thundered. "And quick. You 11 
have us all in trouble" 

"We are leaving tomorrow, sir," was 
Growdon *s reply. 

The next day, Growdon called a council 
of war with his teammates. It would be a 


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shame to let these beautiful cars go to waste. 
Third Aux Headquarters was 2J0 miles 
away. It was a Jong trip for these flimsy 
vehicles of uncertain antecedents, hut it was 
worth the risk. Growdon, Schneider, and 
Gsteen decided that they would each drive 
a car to Constantine. To be as inconspicuous 
as possible they would leave in three separate 
echelons, an hour apart. Each man had a 
map and knew exactly which route to take. 
Schneider was the first to leave, Osteen 
followed- Growdon brought up the rear. It 
was a journey reminiscent of the days when 
mode! T's dotted the American landscape. 
First, Osteen "s car had a flat. Because he had 
no spare, he waited patiently for Growdon 
to catch up. Growdon had no spare on his 
car either, but by using all their ingenuity, 
the two men were able to repair the damage. 
Osteen then started out again but he had 

barely gone a mile when he had another flat. 
This time, the men wasted no further efforts. 
They drove the car to the edge of a cliff 
and let her go. They then continued in 
Growdon's car, mopping their brows. 

At Souk El Arba trouble overtook them 
again. This time it was the engine. They 
lifted the hood and looked at every part 
of the unfamiliar mechanism. No success. 
When they were well-covered with grease 
and oil, help arrived in the form of a convoy 
of GI trucks. Growdon flagged them down: 

"Brother, can you spare a mechanic," 

"A mechanic? We're all mechanics, Cap- 

It turned out that this was a Signal Corps 
Company. One of the men took a look at 
the sedan, connected a loose wire, and be- 
hold! there was a sweet purring. Growdon 

El Kantora Pdit. In *uch country 01 thit, Schntidti'i lituetiafi was, la wy tha leott. prcfariom 


I 3 

- 3 

and Osteen wiped the grease from their 
hands and jumped in. They wanted to make 
up for lost time and they quickly outdis- 
tanced the slow-moving convoy. 

But not for long. Within an hour the 
engine began to cough again and finally 
it died down altogether. Growdon and Os- 
teen did not even bother to lift the hood. 
They just waited for the Signal Corps Com- 
pany. The same mechanic strolled over* a 
big grin on his face. As he finished the job, 
he turned to Growdon and said: 

"You're medics, aren't you? You know, 
I tried to get in, but they wouldn't have 
me. They said I wasn't smart enough. Could 
you get me in?" 

"Brother, you are in right now/' said 
Growdon- "We need a man like you." 

The sedan fell in at the tail end of the 
convoy. The sun went down. Growdon 
tried his lights. They flickered momentarily 
and gave up the ghost. Travel became haz- 
ardous. Suddenly Osteen saw a familiar ob- 

"There's Schneider's car!" he exclaimed, 
"But where is Maurice?" 

The men got out. Schneider's sedan stood 
abandoned on the edge of a precipice. It 
was empty! The circumstances were highly 
suggestive of foul play. Osteen and Grow- 
don looked at each other in concern. They 
searched the vicinity. No clues. Schneider 
had disappeared. 

"I am sure one of those damn Arabs shot 
poor Maurice," said Growdon. "He would 
have left a message otherwise." 

Growdon 's fears were close to the truth- 
Schneider's car had broken down in this spot 
earlier in the day, far from any human habi- 
tation. While Schneider was checking the 
engine* a fierce-looking Arab had come upon 
the scene. The man was armed to the teeth 
and behaved in a very threatening manner. 
Schneider's situation was to say the least pre- 
carious. For a while Schneider kept the man 

at bay by pretending that he had a gun in 
the car but the bluff worked only part way. 
At the very moment that the Arab made 
ready to dispose of Schneider, a jeep ap- 
peared on the scene and the bandit fled, 
Schneider squeezed into the back seat of 
the jeep without ever giving his plushy sedan 
another thought. For all he knows, it may 
still be parked in that same dismal spot. 

Thus, the three Third Auxers reached 
home with only one car and even this one 
never paid off. At Am M'Lifa the same 
regulations were in force and the sedan had 
to be relegated to a clandestine parking lot 
where it gathered dust until Major Harper 
exchanged it for a radio. The toilsome jour- 
ney had been in vain and the Third Auxers 
had learned their lesson. Those foreign jobs 
might look smooth on the city streets but 
they just didn't stand up when the going got 

Gradually the teams finished their assign- 
ments in the field and one by one they fil- 
tered back to Headquarters- The first thing 
Third Auxers learned on their arrival was 
that their commanding officer had been pro- 
moted to full colonel. Actually, this news 
was four months old. It had trailed behind 
in a manner that was very typical of all 
Third Aux mail in those days. 

The letter with the good news left Wash- 
ington the previous December. It arrived 
in England two months later by slow con- 
voy. From England it was forwarded to 
North Africa. Because the mail clerks never 
knew which end of the Third Aux was 
which, they returned the letter unopened 
to England. Readdressed once more, it final- 
ly caught up with Colonel Blatt in Constan- 
tine. The same thing happened to most Third 
Aux mail. Many men never had a word 
from home until the Sicilian campaign was 
well under way! 


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There were many parties at Ain MXila 
when the teams returned there. Some people 
went sightseeing at Timgad and Biskra. 
Others went frolicking in the Mediterranean 
at the beautiful resort of Djidjelli. Others 
went hunting for souvenirs in the native 
quarter of Constantino And others stayed 
home and relaxed. Sometimes those who re- 
laxed had a more exciting time than those 
who roamed the countryside* On a peaceful 
afternoon at Ain M'Lila a party of poker 
players gathered in the shade of a pyramidal 
tent to indulge their favorite pastime. Stakes 
were running high and the men had eyes 
for little except their cards. 

At this point the entrance to the tent 
was darkened by Whitsitt, a lanky, soft- 
spoken Texan. No one would ever see a 
demolition expert in him. Yet, he was al- 
ways dismantling German land mines, hand 
grenades, and booby traps. Whitsitt could 
undertake the most dangerous jobs without 
so much as a tic or a tremor. 

"Say fellows, do you know what 1 found 
here?" Wich that, he held a hand grenade 
in his outstretched hand. Since nobody sup- 
plied an answer he continued in the same 
quiet voice: 

"It's a German hand grenade, A live one!" 

"Well, take the damn thing out of here/* 
said Schneider* "We're busy." 

"It's really perfectly safe as long as you 
keep your thumb on this nipple. These are 
much better than our American grenades, 
you know, With an American grenade you 
have to let go as soon as you pull the pin. 
Here, all you have to do is watch your 
thumb. Of course, if you let your thumb 
go . , . ." And Whitsitt made a significant 

"I said take the damn thing out of here/' 
snapped Growdon* 

"Don't you fellows want to see it? You 
can even throw these things in the air, as 

long as you catch it the right way. Look 

Whitsitt tossed the thing in the air, made 
a grab for it, and missed. The grenade land- 
ed with a dull thud at Schneider's feet. 

People who inspected this scene after- 
wards found seven different holes in the 
canvas where the men had ripped through. 
Money was everywhere. One man was run- 
ning so fast that he tripped over a guy wire 
and broke his leg. Another was later found 
in the latrine. In the midst of all this panic, 
Whitsitt calmly picked up his perfectly 
harmless grenade and put it in his pocket. 
He had been successful beyond expectation 
but it was a long time before his comrades 
forgave him. 

Third Auxers had been keenly aware of 
their lack of equipment and Colonel Blatt 
was intent on remedying this situation as 
quickly as possible. On 24 April he sent 
Captain Serbst *s team, supplemented by five 
nurses, to the 16th Medical Regiment at 
Tebessa to undertake the construction of a 
surgical truck, Serbst enlisted the cooper- 
ation of the supply depots in the neighbor- 
hood and poured all his energies into the 
project. He was a regular slave driver. 
Whenever his teammates would chide him 
for his relentless enthusiasm, Serbst would 

"You just wait till we have this thing roll- 
ing. We'll get right up to the fighting line 
and when there isn't any work to do, we'll 
have our own transportation. Why, in this 
truck we can go anywhere. They'll all want 
this when we take it back to Headquarters." 

The truck never got to Headquarters. It 
never got to the fighting line either. In fact, 
for all Serbst knows, it is still at Tebessa. 
When it came time to embark for Sicily the 
men in charge of loading just weren't inter- 
ested. There was room only for T.O. equip- 
ment. This was just a taste of what befell 
dozens of surgical trucks that were abuild- 


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ing in England and the United States at 
that very time. 

While Serbst was thus working himself 
into a lather, Ralph Coffey and his men were 
striking out in the opposite direction. This 
team was camped at Gafsa in the southwest 
corner of Tunisia, when they learned from 
a native trader that one could buy the most 
exquisite burnoose cloth at Tozeur. Tozeur 
was located in the Sahara Desert on the edge 
of the Chott Djerid. The men set out im- 

Between Gafsa and Tozeur lay 80 miles 
of sun-baked desert, punctuated by an oc- 
casional oasis. This country was considered 
so unimportant strategically that no troops 
had bothered to disturb it. It was a region 
traversed only by camel trails, and the Third 
Auxers depended as much on their compass 
as on the faint tracks. Engine failure here 
would have spelled disaster. 

At Tozeur the world seemed to have come 
to an end. The settlement consisted of a 
handful of miserable hovels inhabited by 
dirty Arabs and their equally dirty animals. 

For the weary travelers there was literally 
nothing on which to rest the eye, with one 
exception. This was the Hotel Tramatian- 
tique. Yes, this forsaken hamlet boasted of 
a hotel, albeit a somewhat dilapidated one. 
Third Auxers could hardly believe their 
eyes, but they were in no mood to ask ques- 
tions. These natives had evidently never 
seen an American, let alone spoken English. 
In fact, the chances for negotiating a pur- 
chase of burnoose cloth under these circum- 
stances seemed remote and Ralph CofTey did 
the next best thing. He suggested an investi- 
gation to see if the hotel had a bar and if 
the bar had ice-cold beer on tap. The day 
was hot and the men were tired and thirsty. 
They entered the lounge through a doorway 
strung with beads. 

Evidently, news of their arrival had pre- 
ceded them, A wait re d r hotel was busily 
dusting off the two available chairs in the 
establishment. For the occasion he had put 
on a boiled shirt, black tie, and threadbare 
tuxedo. The man was a picture of tradition- 
al continental hospitality, but instead of ex- 

Between Gafia and Tozeur lay 80 milet of sun-baked desert. 

3 r^ 


Cltlien? of Toxeur. 

tending a polite greeting he suddenly burst 
out with: 

**Sacre bleu! Mes chers amis, les Ameri- 
cams! Mes sauveurs. C'est formidable." And 
the voluble little man shot forward to pump 
Growdon's hand. "Don't you remember 
me? Martinique! You saved my life at 

Then it dawned on the Third Auxers who 
this was. Several months earlier they had 
operated on this man who was then fighting 
with the American troops. He had called 
himself a member of the French Foreign 
Legion and had suffered a gunshot wound 
of the perineum. Evidently, Tozcur was his 
home and he had returned there when he 
recovered from his wound. 

Martinique spoke a little English and he 
extended the keys to the city. First he served 
a delicious dinner of fried chicken and v'tn 
ordinaire and then he took the Americans 

on a conducted tour of Tozcur. Martinique's 
idea of shopping was to walk into a house, 
look around for an article that would be of 
interest to the Americans, take possession 
of it, and offer it to his friends. When he 
learned that Growdon was looking for a 
bracelet, he made a bee line for the most 
miserable shack in the entire village, walked 
in, kicked two pigs out of the way, and 
grabbed an unbelievably dirty Arab woman 
by the scruff of the neck: 

"Here/' he said to Growdon, ripping the 
bracelet from the woman's wrist: "Give her 
ISO francs." 

In the evening Martinique knocked on 
Growdon's door. 

"Mon capitaine, you are invited to pay 
your respects to Abou HI Sib, the lord and 
master of all Arabs hereabouts. Come with 



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The Americans were now taken to the 
home of a veritable African sheik, a bearded 
and dignified Arab who thought that the 
Americans had come to claim his territory 
as their own. In flowery language he ex- 
plained that he was honored to welcome the 
conquerors and that he hoped for cordial 
relations. After this speech he made a mag- 
nificent gesture with his scimitar and bade 
his visitors sit down. The scimitar was 
quite as much a spectacle as the sheik. It 
was exquisitely worked and elaborately in- 
laid and it seemed somehow to embody the 
essence of Abou El Sib's authority. Once 
more the Arab held the scimitar aloft and 
then with a flourish he deliberately cut his 
own finger! Blood flowed copiously and 
Growdon grabbed for his first-aid kit but he 
was stopped by Martinique who explained 
that an Arab never sheaths his sword until 
it has drawn blood, either his enemy's or 
his own. 

Thus ended the adventure in Tozeur in a 
blaze of pomp and circumstance. 

Life at Ain M'Lila revolved chiefly around 
eating and keeping cool. It was now the 
season of the simoon, a hot, dust-laden wind 
that blows in from the Sahara, The word 
simoon comes from an Arabian root mean- 
ing to poison. And poisonous it was. No 
spot was safe. Sand would swirl through the 
tents, into the eyes, and down the windpipe. 
It would get into the food, into the trunks, 
and into everything that was not hermetic- 
ally sealed. When the simoon was on there 
W2S only one thing to do and that was to 
lie down with a wet handkerchief over the 
nose and mouth. All other activity was 

When it came to running the mess t Cap- 
tain Hudson was every inch the genial res- 
taurateur. It wasn't always easy. In order 
to put on something more fancy than C 

rations, he had to scour the countryside for 
the delicacies he wanted: suckling pigs, fat 
pullets, and fresh eggs. The Arabs had a 
price for everything. And they were not 
hard to please. Their favorite payment was 
a mattress cover from which the women 
made their wedding dresses. 

In his search for food, Hudson had to 
wander farther and farther. It was on one 
of these jaunts that he landed in the hamlet 
of Khenchela on the edge oi the Sahara. The 
people of Khenchela had never seen a jeep. 
Curiously, they milled about the market 
place while Hudson tried to explain that 
he came not to fight but to forage, The 
conversation proceeded laboriously. 

Hudson's method was to point at the ar- 
ticle he wanted and ask for the price. The 
native would answer and Hudson would 
indicate that the charge was preposterous. 
This is exactly what the Arab expected. In 
this case, the procedure became considerably 
more complicated because neither party 
could understand the other. Hudson had his 
eye on a nice fat pig. The owner wanted a 
thousand francs. Hudson offered five hun- 
dred. Negotiations were at a standstill. 

"Captain, all you have to do is give him 
six hundred francs. Not a penny more." 

The voice came from the middle of the 
crowd. Hudson couldn't believe his ears. 
There wasn't another American about. 

"Who was that?" he demanded. 

"That was me, Captain." And with those 
words, a typical Arab pushed his way 
through the crowd towards the jeep. 

"And would you mind telling me where 
you learned to speak American like that?" 
asked Hudson when he had recovered from 
his surprise. 

"Oh, that was way back in 1926. I was 
with the Arab Village at the Philadelphia 
Sesqui centennial.*' 

"You were at the Scsquiccntcnnial, huh? 
And what arc you doing here now?" 


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"Well, I made enough money that one 
summer in Philadelphia to live here for the 

rest of my life." 

Whenever Hudson told this story later 
on, he always finished with the remark: 
"That fellow had me beat. I never could 
pronounce Sesquicentennial until I heard 
him say it." 

Not all Third Auxers were able to relax 
however* It was now time to review the 
experience and draw up plans for the future. 
Front-line surgery was possible but before 
it could really be effective, certain drastic 

changes had to be made, Let us review the 
situation as it existed in May 1943. 

Evacuation of casualties involves three 
separate steps: 

1. Casualties are taken to the first-aid 
station, given preliminary treatment, 
and sent back to a distribution point 
where they can be assessed. This dis- 
tribution point is the clearing station. 
Usually each division has one such sta- 
tion. The function of the clearing 
station is primarily to sort the casual- 
ties. This is called triage. Sorting is 
necessary because it is impossible to 
provide hospital facilities for all the 
casualties so far forward (two to five 

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Schematic representation of evacuation of caiualtiet in the Army icne. 
By p«imiiiicn of Surgery. Gynecology, -and Obstetrics. 


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miles from the front line) , The clear- 
ing station itself cannot undertake sur- 
gery because it must remain mobile and 
follow the division. Therefore, casual- 
ties are divided into 

(a) serious, nontransportables {6*A ) 

(b) less serious, transport ables (94*/) 

2. To cake care of the non-transportables, 
there should be a small but completely 
equipped, forward hospital. Prefer- 
ably, this hospital should be located 
very near the clearing station because 
the non-transportables will not survive 
a long haul. For lack of a more specific 
term, this could be called the first- 
priority hospital. 

3, To take care of the transpor tables there 
should be a larger, less mobile hospital, 
located farther to the rear. This hos- 
pital will handle all casualties that are 
not retained at the first-priority hos- 
pital. The hospital for the transport- 
ables is a second-priority hospital. 

In Tunisia, there were clearing stations 
and there were second-priority hospitals but 
there was no efficient first-priority hospital. 
The surgical hospital which had been intend- 
ed to fulfill this function failed of its pur- 
pose for two reasons: it could not keep up 
with the clearing stations and it could not 
be broken up into small, independent units. 
Consequently, the clearing stations fre- 
quently functioned without a first-priority 
hospital. Teams with these clearing stations 
were forced to undertake first-priority sur- 
gery without adequate facilities. To appre- 
ciate the difficulties under which these teams 
labored, one only has to scan the reports that 
came in at the end of the campaign. They 
make very interesting reading. 

In the main, the teams with experience 
at the forward installations were those that 
had been flown to Tebessa on 18 March as 
well as a special advance detachment of Sec- 

ond Aux teams. Let us first see what hap- 
pened to these Second Aux teams. 

The Second Aux teams consisted of two 
genera! surgical teams, one orthopedic team, 
and one shock team. They were alerted 
early in September by the orders that were 
first sent to the Third Aux by mistake. The 
teams sailed for Ireland in October, left the 
nurses behind, and arrived off Algiers on 8 
November. A few of the men were landed 
on that day but the majority did not disbark 
until three days later when the fighting had 
already stopped. No provision for their 
deployment had been made and consequent- 
ly they could do very little, 

"On the first day we assisted the Naval 
personnel in their aid stations. The only sup- 
plies available were dressings and morphine. 
Wz could not evacuate casualties to the ship 
and had no instructions from the Task Force 
Surgeon as to the disposition of them on 
land. We evacuated some twenty-odd pa- 
tients to the dispensary of the Air Field at 
Maison Blanche, 1J miles southeast of Al- 
giers, by truck and French ambulances. We 
were no better off here in the way of 
equipment but did have a building and we 
had to do the cooking, feeding, and complete 
care of the patients. Not having received 
any instructions, we loaded the casualties 
into French ambulances and rode with them 
through the lines to the French Army Hos- 
pital in Algiers. After explaining our situ- 
ation, we were promised that our casualties 
would be cared for until our own installa- 
tions could be landed and set up," This, it 
turned out, was on 12 November, four days 
later. The situation was muddled but, in 
view of the many unknown quantities, it 
could hardly have been otherwise. 

These same teams reported for duty at 
Constantine on 10 January, at a time when 
the Tunisian campaign was just shaping up. 
Here "we were working under most difficult 
conditions. The wind blew sand and dust 


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through the tents constantly, the lighting 
system gave out usually in the middle of 
the operation, and our trouble with the heat- 
ing units of the sterilizers and autoclaves 
was continuous/* The greatest handicap of 
all was the lack of postoperative care in the 
clearing station. 

"There was no trained personnel, no facil- 
ities for intravenous fluids, no food for pa* 
tients except C rations^ no facilities for 
transfusion of whole blood except blood re- 
ceived from military donors, and there was 
no way of checking this blood for the pres- 
ence of malaria and syphilis. Patients were 
evacuated as rapidly as possible, the majority 
in six to eight hours, some after they had 
reacted from the anesthesia and some while 
they were still under anesthesia." 

The Third Aux teams which arrived on 
18 March had similar experiences'. "Evacu- 
ation was slow and uncertain. We never 
knew whether to hold our abdominal cases 
in the hope that an ambulance would be 
along soon or to go ahead and operate on 
them with the knowledge that the station 
might have to move the next day, A fresh 
postoperative casualty with a belly wound 
does not travel well. The medical personnel 
of the clearing station were uncooperative 
and thought that we were intruders . . . " 

The problem was well stated by Colonel 
Churchill, Surgical Consultant for the Medi- 
terranean Theater, in his annual report for 

* r It is impossible to overestimate the con- 
tribution made by members of the auxiliary 
surgical groups. The history of these organ- 
izations will be recorded independently but 
certain observations from the perspective of 
the Theater as a whole deserve special com- 

It is one thing to describe the organization 
of such a Group, its mission in general terms, 
and quite another to visualize the actual 
work of a team. Ac the time of the initial 

landing and later during the early phases of 
the Tunisian campaign, the advance detach- 
ments were scattered here and there, living 
the life of gypsies. There were no precedents 
that established their mission, no plans that 
defined the policies of forward surgery, and 
no adequate facilities for surgery in the com- 
bat area. These highly trained surgeons were 
transferred from one unit to another with- 
out explanation or destination of their func- 
tion, bivouacked in pup-tents throughout 
months of cold and rainy weather, and 
begged for transportation to carry out ur- 
gent orders. Their surgical skill saved many 
lives but in addition they nursed and at times 
prepared food for their patients, cut fire- 
wood to keep them warm, rode with them 
as attendants in ambulances, laundered and 
re-sterilized surgical linen, improvised sur- 
gical equipment, and did their work, ex- 
posed to enemy bombing and strafing as 
well as to the hazards of an inadequately de- 
fended and shifting defense line,** 

Thus, with the Sicilian invasion in the 
offing, there was much work to be done. 
With the blessing of Surgeon General Kirk, 
who had visited Tunisia in March, a plan 
was worked out by such men as General 
Blesse, the Theater Surgeon, Colonel 
Churchill, the Surgical Consultant, Colonel 
Martin, the Fifth Army Surgeon, Colonel 
Forsee of the Second Aux, and Colonel Blatt. 
The task that confronted these men was to 
create a small, mobile, self-sufficient, first- 
priority hospital that could be set up along- 
side the clearing station. They decided to 
reorganize the so-called field hospital for 
this purpose. 

The field hospital, as it existed in the 
spring of 1943, was a 200-bed unit starred 
by 20 officers, 20 nurses, and 150 enlisted 
men. To adapt it to the new function of 
first -priority hospital, it was decided to 


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streamline the personnel and equipment into 
three platoons or hospitalization units. Each 
unit would have six officers, six nurses, and 
about 50 enlisted men. It would receive ad- 
ditional equipment and operate a 100-bed 
installation. Auxiliary surgical teams would 
do the surgery. 

Actually, the concept of a first-priority 
hospital was not new. Jonathan Letterman 
was the first man to appreciate the necessity 
of first- and second-priority hospitals way 
back in the Civil War. During the first years 
of this war, the wounded were left at the 
dressing stations without much treatment 
of any kind until trains could be provided 
to carry them to hospitals at the base. For 
instance, after the first battle of Bull Run 
in July 1861, an eye witness had this to say: 

"There were no ambulances to remove the 
casualties. The wounded were gradually re- 
moved to Manassas in wagons and from there 
to Richmond by train. The last load left 
the field on 28 July, just one week after the 
start of the battle! The wounded were trans- 
ported in rough wagons, and, on reaching 
Manassas, were placed in freight cars on the 
bare floor, They were in these cars from 
one to two days without food, without 
water, and without medication. The regi- 
mental units gave first aid at the front. The 
general hospitals received the casualties at 
the base. In between, everything was hap- 

Letterman changed all this but in his own 
words: "It took six months to realize the 
deficiencies, one year to develop the plans, 
and two years to put them into effect." 

The first field hospital went into oper- 
ation on 13 December 1862 at Fredericks- 
burg. In the ensuing two years it was de- 
veloped practically to its present form. Even 
the need for added surgical personnel during 
times of stress was realized. This personnel 
was obtained from the brigade staff. An eye 
witness has left a vivid description of a field 

hospital as he saw it during the battle of 
Gettysburg in July 1863, 

"Most of the operating tables were placed 
in the open air where the light was best, 
some of them partially protected against the 
rain by tarpaulins or blankets stretched on 
poles. There stood the surgeons, their sleeves 
rolled up to their elbows, their bare arms 
as well as their aprons smeared with blood, 
their knives not seldom between their teeth, 
while they were helping a patient on or off 
the table, or their hands otherwise occupied; 
around them pools of blood and amputated 
limbs in heaps. 

Antiseptic methods were unknown at that 
time. As a wounded man was lifted upon 
the table, often shrieking with pain, the sur- 
geons quickly examined the wound and re- 
solved upon cutting off the wounded limb. 
Some ether was administered and the body 
put in position in a moment. The surgeon 
snatched his knife from between his teeth, 
where it had been while hands were busy, 
wiped it once or twice across his blood- 
stained apron, and the cutting began. The 
operation accomplished, the surgeon would 
look around with a deep sigh and then — 

In the First World War, field hospitals did 
not function as first-priority hospitals, at 
least not on a large scale* Field hospitals were 
set up at the rear of the division and func- 
tioned more or less as glorified clearing sta- 
tions. There were four for each division: 
one for gas casualties, one for lightly wound- 
ed, one for seriously wounded, and one in 
reserve. However, the seriously wounded 
were rarely operated on at the field hos- 
pital. They were resuscitated and sent to 
the rear as soon as they could be transported. 
It was only towards the end of the war that 
an attempt was made to staff the field hos- 
pital for seriously wounded in such a man- 
ner that the surgery could be done there. 

The concept o( the forward surgical team 
to staff a first-priority hospital had its birth 


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in the French Army, When American med- 
ical officers arrived in France in 1917, they 
found two types of medical units in the 
French service for the forward care of the 
seriously wounded. There were the auto- 
chtr and the group? compicmetttairc. The 
aiifo-chir was the prototype of the first- 
priority hospital. It had a capacity of 120 
beds. The gronpe complcmcntaire was the 
prototype of the mobile surgical unit of the 
Second World War. It consisted of a mobile 
operating room, completely staffed and 
equipped but without facilities for the hos- 
pitalization of postoperative patients. 

The American medical service organized 
twelve mobile hospitals for first-priority 
surgery during the latter months of the war. 
However, various administrative difficulties 
arose and these hospitals functioned mainly 
as auxiliary units with evacuation hospitals, 
rather than as first-priority hospitals. The 
official medical history of the First World 
War does not contain any account of the 
mobile surgical units in action and that is 
a pity because their great value in a more 
mobile type of warfare was appreciated. 

There were no auxiliary surgical groups 
in the First World War. When teams were 
needed, they were recruited from the hos- 
pitals at the base. Teams were organized 
along the lines laid down by the French. 
Each team consisted of a surgeon, an assist- 
ant surgeon, an anesthetist, two nurses, and 
two orderlies. These "casual 1 * teams were 
the forerunners of the auxiliary surgical 
teams of the Second World War. 

From this brief account it can be seen 
that in the First World War the evacuation 
hospital was the actual theater of forward 

surgery. It was a combination of first- 
priority and second -priority hospital. There 
was no separate first-priority hospital. 

No wonder then that the manuals had 
been very vague about forward surgical 
teams. There was no precedent. Forward 
surgery in Tunisia had not functioned effec- 
tively because the facilities were lacking. In 
summary then, these were the conclusions: 

1. The teams should be used to do first- 
priority surgery at the field hospitals, 
as close as possible to the clearing sta- 
tion of the division. 

2. Field hospitals should be streamlined 
to be highly mobile and yet provide 
adequate postoperative facilities. 

3. In field hospital surgery, the need is 
for general surgeons and chest sur- 
geons. The other surgical specialists 
such as the neuro-surgeons, the urolog- 
ical surgeons, and the orthopedic sur- 
geons have little place in the field hos- 
pital because the work is primarily of 
an emergency nature. Fully qualified 
specialists in these fields can work to 
better advantage in the evacuation 

4. Auxiliary surgical group headquarters 
should be placed close to the front so 
that the commanding officer can visit 
the teams regularly. There should be 
sufficient transportation to take care 
of emergency needs and the group 
should be self-sufficient in rentage and 
housekeeping equipment. 

These conclusions had been established at 
the price of blood, sweat, and tears. It was 
not long before they could be put to the test. 





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For two weeks after the Tunisian cam- 
paign the Third Aux rested on its laurels. 
Then word was flashed: Get ready for an- 
other invasion. The entire available strength 
of the Group was to be committed. In ad- 
dition the Second Aux would furnish seven 

Colonel Blatt now drew up the following 
team roster: 


Team No. I: Major Howard W. Brettell, 
Capt Duncan A. Cameron, 1st Lt John A. 
Esposito, T-4 Lawrence E. LeMieux, T-S 
Lloyd L. Kraus, T-S Matt A. Rautiola. 

Team No. 2: Major Reginald S. Rilling, 
Capt Ronald W. Adams, Capt Roy A. 
Geider, T-S jay W, Barker, T-5 James R* 
Netherland, T-J Asa Thomas, 

Team No. 3: Major John B. Peyton, 1st 
Lt Michael M. Donovan, Capt Myles T. 
Kavanaugh, T-4 Wesley E. Robinson, T-S 
John L. Myers, T-S John M, Seely, 

Team No. 4: Major Charles H. Avent, 
1st Lt John P, Sheldon, Capt Gordon A. 
Dodds, T-4 Svend W, Anderson, T-4 Thom- 
as A, Owens, T-5 Edward G. Gibson. 

Team No. 5. Capt Harvey M. Williams, 
Capt Robert A. McTamaney, Capt Kenneth 
J. Chadwell* T-4 Stuart J* Garcia, T-4 Stan- 
ley E, Gustus, T-J Emil K. Natalie. 

Team No. 6: Capt Allen M, Boyden, 
Capt Thomas J. Floyd, Jr., Lt John M. 
Serena, T-4 Chester S. Houston > T-J Charles 
A. Bonin, T-5 Bert H. Karjala. 

Team No. 7: Capt Benjamin R, Reiter, 
Capt Albert W. Brown, Capt Irving R. 
Hayman, T-4 James F, McDonald, T-4 
Marion G. Mitcham, T-S Clarence F* Mer- 

Team No. 8: Major John C. McClintock, 
Capt Edwin M. Soderstrom, 1st Lt Herschel 
F. Connally, Jr., T-4 Troy Mitchell, T-S 
Arthur O. Scoggins, T-J Claude W. Thomas. 

Team No. 9: Major Watkins A. Broyles, 
Capt Philip F. Partington* Capt Rocco A. 
Telia, T-4 John S. Page, T-S Clifford C 
Inman, T-S Daniel S. Overly. 

Team No. 10: Major Francis M. Findlay, 
Capt Marion E. Black, 1st Lt Wentworth 
L. Osteen, T-4 Allen E. Ray, T-S Harold 
J, Meinz, T-S John S. Chobanian. 

Team No. 11: Major Ralph R. Coffey, 
Capt John A. Grawdon, 1st Lt Maurice 
Schneider, T-4 Clarence C. Moody, T-4 
Lloyd Cooper, T-S Claris W. Dixon, 

Team No. 12: Major Giacento C. Mor- 
rone, Capt William R. Ferraro, Capt Eugene 
F. Galvin, T-S Roy P. Montz, T-S James 
E. Battles. 


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Team No. 1: Major Rafe N. Hate, 1st 
Lt Nathan C. Plimpton, Jr., Capt Max H. 
Parrot c, T-J James A. Bowman, T-J James 
C Fish, T-5 Walter I. Nelson, 

Team No. 2: Major Harry C. Blair, Capt 
Robert M. Coffey, Capt Lester W. Netz, 
T-S John M. Curran, T-4 Clarence C. Whit- 
man, T-J William F. Thomas. 

Team No. 3: Major Edward D. Hagerty, 
Capt William F. Maley, Capt Martin R. 
Mesick, T-4 Vincent P. Stich, T-5 Alexan- 
der P. Milbert, T-S Emery W. Hopkins. 


Team No. 1: Major Mark H. Williams, 
Capt Horace G. Williams, Major Lawrence 
A, Block, T-4 Edward H. Fitzpatrick, T-S 
Jan Prys, T-5 Simon Wienzveg, 


Team No. 1: Major Walter G. Haynes, 
Major Charles A, Serbst, 2nd Lt Emma I. 
Doty, 2nd Lt Maribel E, Dorton, T-4 Wil- 
liam L. Harris, T-4 Cecil J. Patterson, 


Team No. 1 : Capt Mark J, Wallfield, T-4 
Samuel A, Rosenberg, T-5 Charles W. 

Team No. 2; Capt William C. Gaynor, 
T-4 Victor Nigro, T-S Howard J. Kennedy. 

Team No. 3: Capt James J. Whitsict, 

S Sgt Nelson D. Roberts, T-4 Robert J. 

In drawing up their plans, Colonel Blatt 
and Colonel Forsee had to reckon with the 
possibility that field hospitals might not ar- 
rive early enough to handle first-priority 
casualties from the very beginning. There- 
fore they decided to attach the teams not 
only to the field hospitals but also to the 
division clearing stations which would be 

landed within the first six hours. In addition 
there was to be a special clearing station {the 
so-called beach clearing station) which 
would come in with the 1st Engineers Spe- 
cial Brigade, a body of troops that were to 
prepare the beach for the movement of 
heavy equipment. Third Aux teams would 
work at this station as long as necessary. 
A few teams were attached to evacuation 

As soon as Third Auxers learned that they 
would have to do a certain amount of work 
at the clearing stations they knew that they 
were going to have trouble because clearing 
stations do not have the equipment for first- 
priority surgery. How to remedy this? Some 
help could be expected from the Navy. Shore 
parties would evacuate casualties across the 
beach and to the ships off -shore. But there 
would be more delay than seriously wound- 
ed men can tolerate. Third Auxers tackled 
this problem with grim determination. 

It was a man-sized job. First, they had 
to ingratiate themselves with the clearing 
station officers who resented outside inter- 
ference. Next, they had to get the cooper- 
ation of the supply officers. Next, they had 
to scour the warehouses. Next, they had to 
improvise what was unavailable. And finally 
they had to get this equipment on the load- 
ing lists, Serbst's beautiful surgical truck 
was ditched for lack of room but most of 
the smaller items were eventually secured 
and packed. Third Auxers emerged battered 
but unbowed, 

D Day was set for 10 July. Captain 
Adams speaks: 

"There is an apt expression which, though 

not confined to Army life, was forcefully 

brought home to us in those three wearisome 

weeks before D Day. I refer to the 

'sweating it out. f 


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Our sweating was literal as well as figura- 
tive because the hot sun of North Africa 
beat down on us from morning till night 
without mercy. The dark canvas of the tent 
crowded the heat in on us and intensified 
the relentless temperatures beyond endur- 
ance. From noon to sunset we simply melted 
away. During those hours the temperature 
in sun or shade soared to 1 1 5 degrees and the 
Kham Seen or desert wind converted our 
camp into a furnace. To venture outside 
meant hot, stinging blasts of air which left 
the face burned and raw and the throat sore 
and seared as from the inhalation of a flame. 
I recall being cool on only one occasion. 
That was when I stripped and lay on a 
canvas cot, covered only with a Turkish 
towel while a tent mate threw a bucket of 
water over me. I was comfortable for ten 

But 'sweating it out 1 connotes much 
more than a physical state. It is a mental 
state, an emotional experience which has 
about it the implacable relentlessness of 
Kismet. We were all waiting for invasion 
day but we did not know how or when or 
where it would come and we were unable 
to influence our destiny by a single thought 
or word or deed. The mental tension was 
reflected in endless hours of discussion, spec- 
ulation, argumentation over every contro- 
versy] subject as well as a few non-contro- 
versial ones. There was no work which 
would help pass the time and occupy the 
mind. All we could do was sit and wait. 
Our camp was on an instant alert and our 
movements were circumscribed. Once or 
twice we were permitted the luxury of a 
swim. For the rest, our days were consumed 
in eating, sleeping, laundering, and arguing. 

One other diversion deserves comment: 
the occasional air raid to which Bizcrte was 
subjected. These raids were almost a wel- 
come interlude, for what soldier will not 
tell you that times of action are infinitely 
more bearable than times of inaction. Bombs 

come down, yes. But what of it? They 
either have your name or they don't. The 
bombardier has no personal malice towards 
you. The gunner does not know you from 
Adam. Each man tries to destroy you with 
all his cunning but in the end it is fate that 
decides. No use getting panicky. 

At these times the night was illuminated 
by white or green flares and searchlights 
probed the darkness in long fingers. Once 
these searchlights pinned down a machine, 
tracer bullets reached up into the sky in 
leisurely chains of garnet and ack-ack shells 
made pretty little smoke puffs. Sometimes 
the converging streams of fire found their 
target and then the helpless victim nosed to 
earth in a writhing trail of smoke and flame. 
At other times the attacker escaped. I well 
remember one low-flying bomber that was 
caught in the beam of half a dozen search- 
lights and tried desperately to fight its way 
out. We, who were watching, vehemently 
cheered for our boys to shoot it down, but 
the guns kept silent and the Nazi winged 
away. The next day we found out that the 
crews were ordered not to shoot because the 
plane was over a large bivouac area and the 
danger from our own shells was far greater 
than that from German bombs. Even so, it 
was common to hear the whine and thud of 
those jagged pieces of steel as they kicked 
the ground close by. 

Two other events are worth recording. 
One was the disappointment that we were 
unable to go on the copy-book invasion, 
which consisted of practice loading, sailing, 
and disembarkation exercises, lasting three 
or four days. The night before the sched- 
uled trial the boat we were to use was 
damaged in a collision with another vessel. 
So, to our dismay, we were left behind. 

The other event was the 4th of July 
gathering of the officers of the Jrd Division, 
Reinforced, at General Truscott's Head- 
quarters. Here several hundred of us met 
in the dust and torrid heat of an olive grove, 


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to hear of the job ahead, with an exhortation 
to give it the old college try. It was a version 
of the "night before" football rally. 

Such was the pattern of the 'sweating 
out* process. It was ended one day before 
sundown, as we climbed into a truck which 
took us to a vacant field. There we were 
unceremoniously dumped to snatch what 
sleep we could. Up again at four o'clock 
and with coffee under our belts, we walked 
the two miles to the docks with approxi- 
mately 80 pounds of equipment. By noon, 
we were on board and stood out to anchor 
in the Bay of Bizerte, the collecting point 
for our portion of the armada. 

We found ourselves on LST 3 58, a Land- 
ing §hip Tank with two enormous doors in 
the bow through which large vehicles can 
get on and off. She was loaded with vehicles 
of all kinds including two batteries of the 
large 1JJ mm howitzers. Eight guns in all. 
On the top deck were four huge stacks of 
ammunition, a load which had the captain 
in a dtther because one bomb or shell could 
blow the boat to hell without any need of 
looking for the pieces. There were three 

experienced Navy men on board: the cap- 
tain, the first mate, and the boatswain's mate. 
The latter had been wounded in the ankle 
during one of the night raids. He should 
have been in the hospital but he was too good 
a man to leave behind and he got around 
surprisingly well. The rest of the crew was 

All afternoon and evening the anchorage 
was collecting boats so that the sun set on a 
veritable armada. Dawn found us stretched 
out in long columns on a calm sea. There 
was no sign of enemy action but overhead 
flashed squadrons of planes and abaft 
churned numerous destroyers. This first day 
was a pleasure cruise. We stuffed ourselves 
with the iced drinks that we had not tasted 
for months and remarked that Navy chow 
certainly had it over Army chow. Too bad 
that the food did not stay with us very long. 

On the second day a stiff north wind 
started blowing. It whipped the waves and 
tossed our shallow-draft boats hither and 
yon. Soon I was lying on my stomach, giving 
my all to a bucket or the vicinity thereof. I 
lay there half stupefied, wondering if the 

All afternoon the anchorage w«i collecting, boats of every description. 


invasion was going to be postponed. Was it 
a sign from heaven or just bad luck that the 
worst sea In months should wait for this 
moment ? 

At ten o'clock in the evening the boat- 
swain's mate hobbled into the cabin roundly 
cursing his luck because one of the large 
crates of high explosives had been broken 
by the tossing of the boat- It was his job 
to get it shored up before it blew us all sky 
high, A formidable task in the blackout but 
one which he accomplished with eminent 

Towards midnight the seas became calmer 
and we could hear the sound of guns in the 
distance. We supposed that we were in the 
lee of land and that the invasion had started. 
An hour later, being unable to sleep and 
feeling improved, I dressed to go on deck. 
In front of us gun fire hit the shore with a 
roar of noise and flame. Behind us was a 
deeper-throated growl as cruisers, with their 
heavier armament, lobbed missiles at some 
enemy target. The shore reply was feeble 
and grew feebler by the minute. It was 
difficult to believe that this pyrotechnical 

display was hurling death and destruction 
at the shore. It was so reminiscent of fire- 
works at home. 

Dawn lighted the sky and the enemy air 
force made its appearance. The planes were 
flying high, too high to be seen, but they an- 
nounced their presence by tremendous water 
spouts. The guns of the fleet replied in kind 
and the sky filled with expanding balls of 
smoke. I still thought it was pretty. 

The light of day showed a hilly shoreline 
about three miles off. Mine sweepers, in- 
fantry barges, and small craft were shuttling 
around. Destroyers weaved in and out, 
occasionally firing a salvo at some strong 
point on shore. Behind us were cruisers, 
ready to throw up an anti-aircraft screen 
or toss a screaming broadside at the land. 
Our own LST had a large pontoon strapped 
to her side. This pontoon was to precede 
all heavy equipment so that it could act as 
a causeway. Two sections, each a hundred 
feet in length, were strapped together. They 
went overboard with a splash. Then, just 
as the Navy crew got ready to guide her 
into shore, the chain that controlled the bow 

Our first step* on Sicilian land. Beach tctne bttwgftn Gela and ScoglittL 


door snapped and there we were. In the 
long swells, repairs were difficult. Every- 
body ran around in circles. Since our LST 
was supposed to be the first to land, it was 
not long before an escort vessel pulled up. 
A hoarse voice through a megaphone shout- 
ed: 'Get on that goddam beach, you stink- 
ers!* *We can't/ answered our captain and 
then there followed a long conversation the 
details of which made no sense to me. We 
just wallowed in the combers and I over- 
heard Boyden and Floyd discuss endometrial 
biopsies. I don't know what got them start- 
ed on that subject. 

Finally the repairs were made and we 
nosed in. The pontoon bridgeway was ad- 
justed and we picked up our equipment. 
We stayed on the pontoon as long as we 
could and then we stepped off into the water 
and waded in. It was our first step on 
European land. 

We walked across a field of tomatoes until 
we came to the coast road and then turned 

left towards Licata. We passed a large con- 
crete pillbox with a disabled gun, A 1st 
Division soldier told us that two Italians had 
come out to be taken prisoners a few hours 
earlier. When the Americans came forward, 
other Italians inside the pillbox opened fire 
and there were many casualties. One of the 
Americans then sneaked around the back 
with a bangalore. That settled the argu- 

Pushing along the roadway in a straggling 
double file, we came upon a house from 
which three highly excited Italians shouted: 
*Soldato est morte! Parola d'honnoreP We 
surmised that there was a dead soldier inside 
but we had no desire to bury him. The dead 
would have to wait for the living. 

After proceeding two miles down the 
roadway we climbed up on the bank and 
sat down. The beach was a hundred yards 
in front. Around and about an Army rolled 
by. Behind us rose the rugged hills* All 
seemed fair and quiet. We were in a natural 

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amphitheater with a grand view of the ar- 
mada in the bay. Unloading went on unin- 
terruptedly all morning. This was a cinch. 
We had the enemy by the tail. I had gotten 
thus far when pandemonium broke loose. 
There was a roar of motors, guns popped 
away, and everybody ducked. It was too 
late to run for shelter, even if there had been 
shelter. I folded my knees, pulled in my 
neck, and waited for the worst- A Messer- 
schmitt zoomed by and strafed the roadway. 
It was all over more quickly than it takes 
to tell but I don't mind saying that I was 
badly scared, I unwound myself and took 
stock. I had been sitting on some boxes of 
howitzer ammunition! I rapidly removed 
myself and started digging a good foxhole. 

That afternoon we watched the scene be- 
fore us. Sometimes our own planes would 
be flying in formation overhead. Sometimes 
one or two German planes would sneak in 
to strafe the roadway or drop bombs on 
the boats. To do this, they would dive down, 
release the bombs about two hundred feet 
above the target, and scuttle away, We 
watched with our hearts in our mouths but, 
although many bombs dropped, not a single 
one hit its mark. Anti-aircraft batteries 
came up. The sound of a plane was the 
signal for wild firing from a dozen spots. 
Nerves were taut and fingers itchy. Nobody 
was much concerned about what he was 
shooting at. Flak fell everywhere, We soon 
learned to watch from the comparative 
safety of a foxhole. 

Our hospital had not yet set up so we 
stayed with the clearing station. There had 
been few casualties and most of us rolled 
up in the ditch to get what sleep we could. 
I must confess that I made a good job of it 
for I was dog tired. My sleep was disturbed 
by only two raids. 

The following morning we were per- 
mitted to breakfast in peace but soon after- 
wards Jerry came over again and scored his 
only accurate hit. A bomb struck one of 

the LST*s which were unloading a mile down 
the beach. The boat was enveloped in a tall 
pillar of black smoke. Glittering sparklers 
hissed and sputtered heavenward. I won- 
dered how our boatswain *s mate made out. 

Ken Chadwell and I took an ambulance 
down to the burning boat to help the med- 
ical battalion set up a first-aid station on the 
beach. We soon had a dozen badly injured 
men laid out on litters and started giving 
them plasma. The Jerries were trying hard 
to pick off the other LST's. The first time 
or two we jumped. But we could not ac- 
complish anything that way. We ignored 
everything but the wounded. 

In about two hours the injured had all 
been treated or at least gotten into trans- 
portable shape. We moved them to our 
clearing station. There, other members of 
our unit had already relieved the tired sur- 
geons who had been operating throughout 
the night, and we fell to. 

As early evening approached, trucks took 
us to our own hospital a couple of miles 
inland. Just as we arrived we were ordered 
to tear the tents down and move to a new 
site because the engineers were making a 
landing strip out of the field and the quar- 
termaster troops were stacking ammunition. 
We trekked off by moonlight. 

For the next three days we worked nip 
and tuck to stay ahead of the casualties. 
Enemy interference died down after the 
second day but bombers kept on coming 
over at night. Three incidents stand out in 
my memory. The first involved a plane that 
came in from the ocean, crippled by our 
own fire. The pilot became entangled in the 
tail and went down with his ship. Some- 
what later, another of our planes was shot 
down before our eyes but this time the pilot 
was able to free himself, He landed about a 
quarter of a mile away. Our enlisted men 
ran out, thinking that they were going to 
capture a German. Instead, they brought 


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back a grinning American who was cussing 
our gunners for all he was worth. A third 
picture is vivid because here again American 
planes were victims of American guns. Two 
planes soared over the hills. One was hit. 
The pilot jumped. Machine gunners on the 
ground opened up on him. He would have 
been a dead duck, but for his pal in the 
other plane. This fellow circled his machine 
around the falling figure and he kept on 
circling until the anti-aircraft crews got it 
through their heads that they were shooting 
at an American. Both pilots escaped injury. 

The first Third Auxer to set foot on Sicily 
was Captain Ferraro. Ferraro is a native 
Sicilian whose home town is Santa Croce 
Camerino. When he learned that his birth- 
place was directly in the path of the invasion 
he arranged to go ashore with the first wave 
and at dawn on D Day he found himself 
on the beach at Marina de Ragusa. The first 
rays of the sun lighted up the scene. Ferraro 
rubbed his eyes. Every dune, every gully, 
every track was familiar to him, Was he 
really returning as a conqueror to this coun- 
try he knew so well? 

Tanks came ashore and Ferraro asked for 
a lift. A driver motioned him to climb on 
the turret. The tank rumbled on, picking 
up the trail towards Santa Croce. Ferraro 
is a small Tnan who at this time was com- 
pletely hidden behind a three-day beard, an 
oversized helmet, and heavy goggles. His 
own wife wouldn't have recognized him. 
But Sicilian eyes are sharp. At a bend in the 
road the tank came upon a donkey cart. The 
driver of the cart took one long look at 
Ferraro, let out a yell, and ran forward, 
shouting at the top of his voice, "Madre di 
Iddio! Guglielmo Ferraro! My cousin!" The 
next moment they were in each other's arms. 
It was a strange reunion. 

When the first excitement had subsided, 
the donkey cart driver spoke up: 

"Come at once to Santa Croce. Your 
grandfather is there. Everybody is there. 
We are expecting you.*' 

Ferraro motioned for the tank to lead 
the way. It was only a short walk. On the 
edge of the village an old man was waiting. 
He used one hand as a sun visor and kept 
his eyes fixed on the road. Behind him were 
a handful of other Sicilians of assorted sizes. 
This was the Ferraro clan. Again there was 
an outburst: "Guglielmo! Doesn't he look 
wonderful! Our own Guglielmo!" 

The small group now continued towards 
the market place. At every corner, excited 
Santa Croceans ran out. Everyone knew 
Ferraro personally. Welcoming ceremonies 
were repeated so often that it took an hour 
to go the few blocks to the market place. 
Between acknowledging the enthusiasm and 
accepting the toasts, Ferraro had a very busy 
time indeed and when he finally arrived in 
front of the city hall he was surrounded by 
a huge crowd of milling, shouting, gesticu- 
lating Sicilians who fairly pushed each other 
out of the way to get a look at 11 Capitano 

Shortly the mayor of the town appeared 
on the steps. He was dressed in his official 
regalia and started to make a speech byt 
he had hardly gotten under way when Amer- 
ican tanks thundered by and drowned him 
out completely. Wine cellars were opened 
and toasts flew thick and fast. The town 
band struck up the American anthem, fol- 
lowed by Santa Lucia. People started to 
dance. It was a celebration such as had not 
been seen In Santa Croce for centuries. 

In the midst of all this, American bomb- 
ers came over and they opened their bays 
over Santa Croce in utter disregard for the 
historic occasion. The bombs missed their 
mark and the villagers immediately decided 
that they had been spared because of Fer- 


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yruted to the west of The line; the British to the east. 

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raro's intervention. People came from all 
over to pay homage, Ferraro was king for 
a day. Too soon he had to relinquish his 
throne. His team was at nearby Scoglitti 
and he was needed there. He left with his 
grandfather's good wishes ringing in his ears. 
The people of Santa Croce are still talking 
about "their own Guglielmo." 

Meanwhile the invasion was taking place 
according to plan. In the American sector 
three infantry divisions (preceded by the 
82nd Airborne and reinforced with the 2nd 
Armored) landed on the south coast, white 
the British Eighth Army attacked a similar 
sector on the east coast. The defending gar- 
rison consisted of ten Italian divisions and 
two German divisions. The Italians were 
deployed along the coast and had little 
stomach for fighting. The German divisions, 
which were armored, were distributed along 
the central axis and bore the brunt of the 
defense. They staged the only serious coun- 
terattack on the beach. This was at Gcla on 
D plus 1. Third Auxers had a ringside seat. 

Captain Boyden had just moved his team 
inland to join his clearing station. The men 
had come to rest on the first row of dunes 
from where they had a commanding view 
of the beach. From this distance the strag- 
gling lines looked very much like the snake 
dancers that Boyden remembered well from 
his school days and he was just about to say 
something about it when, for no apparent 
reason, the lines broke and the men scattered. 
The sight of these tiny figures scrambling 
wildly in all directions struck Boyden as 

"Look," he said to his teammates. ^Some- 
thing funny is going on there." 

He had hardly finished speaking when a 
terrific blast shook the earth and showered 
him with an avalanche of sand. Then he 
realized what was going on. Shells! The 

next few minutes, Hoyden's men were the 
busiest they had ever been in their lives. They 
dug their holes fast and deep and they did 
it without benefit of instruction in hasty 

Boyden now looked inland. Two tanks 
appeared on the brow of the second line of 
dunes. They were about 500 yards away. 
Captain Boyden had an inspiration. 

"Look! There are our tanks. Let's wave 
them down this way. Maybe they can find 
out where the shelling is coming from," 

"You stay right in your foxhole* son," 
came a voice farther down the line. "Those 
are Tigers, They'll blast your head off if 
you wave them down." 

It was true. German tanks penetrated to 
within a mile of the beach at this point, while 
Italian infantry attacked from the flanks. 
For a full five minutes the tanks stood mo- 
tionless. They seemed to survey the scene 
and then retreated without firing another 
shot. It was the only moment when the 
beachhead was seriously threatened. 

With the dissipation of this counterat- 
tack, the troops were free to throw their full 
force in a northwesterly direction. Leaving 
the eastern part of the island to the British, 
the Americans captured Agrigento on 16 
July. On the same day another spearhead 
advanced on Enna where a junction with the 
Canadians was effected on 20 July. This 
marked the collapse of resistance m western 
Sicily, An armored column thrust across 
the island and captured Palermo on 22 July, 
just twelve days after D Day. 

On 28 July, American troops took Nicosia 
and opened the road toward Troina. At this 
town a violent five-day struggle took place. 
While the British and Canadians pushed be- 
tween Mt. Lena and the sea, the Americans 
reduced one enemy position after another 
at Troina. The Germans clung doggedly to 
their defenses but the constant pounding 
finally became too much for them and on 


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6 August they gave way. This signalled the 
collapse of the Etna line. 

Now began the final phase. Quickly 
American and British forces converged on 
Randazzo, the last point at which the Nazis 
could make a stand. They held out just long 
enough for the bulk of their forces to escape 
to the mainland, Randazzo fell on 13 
August. Messina fell four days later. The 
Sicilian campaign was over* 

Third Auxers remember Sicily as an island 
of barren hills, dusty groves, steaming tents, 
ravenous mosquitos, and malaria! Captain 
Adams has given the Third Auxer's view. 

"From Licata we moved to Agrigento, 
beautiful old town whose crowning glory 
is the two Greek temples built upon a sand- 

stone ridge. I shall always remember that 
silhouette but we moved on to Corlione be- 
fore I had a chance to examine these gems. 
We next went into bivouac a few miles out- 
side of Palermo, Here was respite from work 
with a chance to view the capital city of 
Sicily. It is a fine town with many modern 
buildings, nestled in a crook of land and 
surrounded by hills. The structures have 
suffered sadly, the main part of town being 
a rubble of masonry with few signs of for- 
mer grandeur. One whole day I drove 
around in a horse-drawn carriage seeing the 
sights: seaside suburban Mondello, the cata- 
combs of the Cappucini Fathers, the famed 
medical school, the badly destroyed harbor, 
the closed Chinese Palace which was myste- 
riously opened for the price of a dollar, and 
the really interesting historical museum. 
This too opened up at the waving of a green- 

^Kk ^^B ^^f ^H 

■'*^i&r'$' &&r * • 


Key men in the detachment. Standing: Penterman I Adjutant! , Lament (Supply), Mull son 

(Supply ■ , James l Meter Pool ) , Nelson ' First* Sergeentl , Montgomery (Men) . Squatting: 

Cam err 4 Headquarter*! , Kintello. 


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We were scion to return to work, this 
time in a desolate spot where our tents were 
showered with silt from trucks pausing at 
a water point. The location was far from 
ideal but the patients swarmed in, so that 
each man was operating for IS to 20 hours 
at a stretch. Under such circumstances the 
surroundings scarcely penetrate the realm of 
consciousness. Here too our stay was limited 
to only a few days. We pushed on to 

We set up our hospital on a level field 
overlooking the ocean. The tip of the Cape 
of Orlando curved out into the sea ten miles 
beyond. This area was hotly contested and 
we had a front-seat view because our own 
artillery was set up in the town of St. Agata 
three miles back. For two days we watched 
the artillery duel. In the air, Jerry was com- 
pletely outclassed. But he still had some- 
thing to give. 

The fighting moved on and we were soon 
on the move again, pitching the hospital 
tents in a dry river bed at Brolo. Here we 
took in few patients. We had no room for 
more, hemmed in as we were by the steep 

We now moved to Barcellona, our most 
eastern location. Just as we moved in, a 
Mitchell bomber came in low, one engine 
belching smoke. Men began to drop from 
it in quick succession. One, two, three, four. 
The parachutes dropped lazily to earth. But 
what about the pilot? Halfway down, he 
hurtled away from the smoking fuselage, his 
parachute catching in the breeze. We 
breathed a sigh of relief, 

Messina fell on 16 August. The next day 
Reg Rilling and I went to see it. We caught 
a ride in a jeep driven by a chap who was 
taking pictures for O.W.I. Our road led 
across the mountainous tip of Sicily, whence 
one has a grand view of the city. There was 
plenty of evidence of recent fighting here: 
burned-out guns and tanks, smashed ve- 
hicles, piles of small arms, grenades and am- 

munition, a countryside scorched to a brown 

We were feeling well pleased as we [eft 
the mountains behind to follow the twisting 
roadway down to Messina, But our reverie 
was rudely interrupted. Just as we pulled 
up in front of a parked car, there was a loud 
roar. Smoke and debris billowed in the air. 
We threw ourselves into a ditch, on top of 
the occupants of the other vehicle. They told 
us that the Germans were shelling this strip 
of road from the Italian mainland. Within 
twenty seconds of the first burst, a second 
went off, and when the smoke had cleared, a 
nearby house showed nothing but broken 
walls. We brushed the dust and dirt off 
our clothing, deciding to run for it, and 
jumped in our jeep. At a spur in the road 
we saw the bursts of interdictory fire. We 
waited and then retraced the roadway to 
the top of the hill. Here we sought shelter 
in some fortifications and bumped into an 
Italian who had lived in Brooklyn and could 
speak English. He told us that the Germans 
had pulled out their gun two nights ago 
but had left a large searchlight behind. He 
pointed out the spreading panorama of Mes- 
sina and could even tell us where the Ger- 
mans had their guns on the Italian mainland. 
We asked if there wasn't a back road into 
town. He showed us one and we hightailed 
down it. 

The city was a shambles, worse than Bi- 
zerte. Rubble was everywhere. We drove 
a mile without seeing a human being- Burned 
out vehicles littered the streets. All the 
buildings were a mass of twisted girders and 
piled masonry. One vindictive soldier, find- 
ing a large picture of Mussolini, had taken 
the trouble to pin the picture to a tree, drill 
a few rifle shots through it, and thrust a 
bayonet through the cheekf 

But the desolation began to pall on us. 
The human mind can react so far and no 
further. Thus it was in a mood of intro- 
spection that we finished our sight-seeing. 


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At one point on the winding road back, 
forty or fifty Italians came pouring out of 
a dugout in the mountainside to surround 
our jeep, smiling, laughing, shouting, and 
gesticulating. On a doorway, someone had 
written in chalk, 'Welcome to the English 
and the Americans. We thank you for giv- 
ing us back our liberty, but why did you 
take so long?* Yes, I thought, it has seemed 
like a long time, but there is still a long road 
ahead before we can go home." 

During most of the Sicilian campaign 
Third Aux Headquarters remained in the 
Constantine area. It was not until 1 > August 
that Colonel Blatt was finally able to move 
his little group to Bizerte. Here he got a 
clearer picture of what had gone on and he 
drew a number of conclusions. The most 
important one had to do with the proper 
locale of first-priority surgery. 

The teams in Sicily had not worked ex- 
clusively at field hospitals. They had been 
distributed fairly equally over the three 
types of installations that work in the for- 

ward area, namely clearing stations, field 
hospitals, and evacuation hospitals. At the 

clearing stations, teams were handicapped 
by lack of equipment and lack of postoper- 
ative care for the casualties. At the evacu- 
ation hospitals, teams were largely superflu- 
ous because the regular staff is adequate. But 
at the field hospitals, teams had really come 
into thetr own. In Sicily, the field hospitals 
did not always function as first-priority hos- 
pitals but when they did, the teams had done 
their most important and outstanding work, 
The field hospital was the natural locus of 
the auxiliary surgical team. 

The other lessons of the Sicilian campaign 
were these: 

1. When the teams are attached to clear- 
ing stations for an invasion, these clear- 
ing stations should have extra equip- 
ment- In Sicily this was not available. 

2. Patients at a field hospital need large 
quantities of blood. Therefore, a blood 
transfusion service is an absolute 

3. To make certain that the field hospital 
does not bog down, the clearing sta- 

StriUing camp at Biiertc. Note I he siic «f the bedding ralli. 


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tion should have experienced triage 
4. The old rule that an auxiliary surgical 
group headquarters should be stationed 
in the communications zone was passe. 
Teams cannot be expected to fence for 
themselves. The commanding officer 
should be close to his teams to super- 
vise their deployment. 
J. In Sicily each team consisted of three 
officers and three men. Third Auxers 
found that they could do better work 
with a reinforced team of four officers 
and four men. They also felt that the 
nurses should be allowed to work with 
the teams. 
Gradually the teams came together in the 
Palermo area. On 16 October they boarded 
a Liberty ship and set sail for Bizerte, It 
was a rough voyage in more ways than one. 
Third Auxers closed their eyes to their dis- 
comforts and concentrated on the pleasure 
of the reunion with Headquarters, At Bi- 
zerte they were dumped into lighters, ferried 
to shore, and herded into a staging area that 
was even worse than the one at Palermo. 
Now came the blow: They were not sup- 

posed to be in Bizerte at all! "Get back to 
Palermo" read orders that awaited them. 
Without a chance to catch their breath, the 
men turned about-face, boarded the hospital 
ship Seminole, and headed back to the same 
place they came from. The ways of the 
Transportation Corps are inscrutable. 

The close of the Sicilian campaign marked 
a milestone in Allied strategy. At the 
TRIDENT Conference in May of 1943 the 
Allies realized that a conquest of Italy would 
eventually grind to a halt at the Alps. The 
cross-Channel operation had been postponed 
but it could not be put off entirely. There- 
fore, as soon as the troops had gained a foot- 
hold in Italy, General Eisenhower was direct- 
ed to send back to England a certain num- 
ber of seasoned units around which a gigan- 
tic invasion force was to be built. The Third 
Aux was one of these units. 

Sometime during the summer the Group 
had dropped an enlisted man and a request 
for a replacement went to Bizerte. Fletch- 
inger was picked for the job. 

Fletchinger had arrived in North Africa 
in December 1942 as a "casual," that is a man 
without an assignment. Casuals are step- 

Merlc Harper and Mildred Radawiec 90 iightteeing in Palermo, 


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children- They have no home, travel by 
cattle car, and float from one dreary replace- 
ment depot to another until they are as- 

So it was with Fletchinger. Bouncing 
through the various depots in North Africa* 
he finally arrived in Bizerte and received his 
orders to join the Third Aux. He could have 
kissed the paper. His next job was to find 
out where the Third Aux was. Sicily! He 
waited out his turn for a boat. Casuals do 
not have a high priority and when Fletch- 
inger finally arrived in Sicily* the Third Aux 
had already left for England. 

The adjutant in the PaJermo replacement 
depot was stumped. The Third Aux? No- 
body knew where it was. But what about 
the Second Aux? That unit had just gone 
to Italy. It must be that the orders were 
really for the Second Aux. Before Fletch- 
inger could raise a voice in protest, be was 
on his way to Naples. 

At the Naples Depot the adjutant looked 
at Fletchinger's orders and blew his top. This 
was ridiculous. Fletchinger had no more 
business in ItaJy than he had at the North 
Pole! Out with him! With the first available 
transportation (six weeks later) Fletchinger 
went back to Bizerte. 

At Bizerte the Third Aux was only a dim 
memory but after much correspondence the 
fact was established that the Group was now 

snugly ensconced at Stourport, England. 
The orders were amended: "Proceed at once 
to United Kingdom/' On paper it looked 
easy. In reality it meant another grim jour- 
ney by cattle car across North Africa. Bi- 
zerte, Constantine, Algiers, Oran. Each city 
was a dismal memory of the year before. 
Bedraggled and dispirited, Fletchinger 
boarded his ship. He fully expected to be 
told that the Third Aux had meanwhile gone 
back to the States. To his great relief these 
fears proved unfounded and on 27 April, 
just one year after his orders had reached 
him he reported for duty. During this year 
he had traveled ten thousand miles, stayed 
in eight replacement depots, belonged to 
sixteen different drill squads, and accounted 
for twenty-four letters of inquiry. When- 
ever things got rough after that, Fletchinger 
would shut everybody up by saying: "Aw 
nuts! You never had it so good. You should 
see the Repple Depple in Naples," 

The Third Aux embarked for England 
in two detachments, one on the Monterey 
and the other on the Sluiterdyk. The two 
ships left Palermo on 11 November and 
docked separately on 26 November, one in 
Liverpool and the other in the Firth of 
Clyde, From here the travelers converged 
on Lichfield Barracks where they found 
temporary quarters. 

Let us now see what the men in England 
had been doing. 

On 1 1 November Third Auxert laid goad-by t* Palermo, 

i £ 

Cowley Barracks on S February 1943 
seemed to be the end of the world to Major 
Graves and the men who stayed behind with 
him. The constant rain spread gloom and 
dejection. Oxford was no place to fight a 
war. The bottom had dropped out of the 
Third Aux. The men were mired in the 
mud, literally and figuratively. 

But the human mind has a wonderful 
resilience. Small improvements occurred. 
First, the Group moved to Slade Camp, next 
door to Cowley Barracks. A slade is a flat 
piece of bogland. Flat and boggy it was. 
But there were compensations. There was 
plenty of room. There were plenty of stoves. 
And there was plenty of coal Such elemen- 
tary comforts were hailed as the beginning 
of a new era. 

Next, the weather took a turn for the 
better. After six weeks of steady rain, the 
clouds parted and the sun came through. 
Spring was still a long way off but the first 
stirrings were in the air. 

Then too, Third Auxers began to look 
at Oxford with different eyes. If they were 
going to live here for a while, why not take 
advantage of the educational opportunities, 
the cultural activities, the scholastic atmos- 
phere? A club got under way. Oxford pro- 
fessors extended invitations. There was a 
dance. Gradually Third Auxers thawed cut 
and Blanche Stewart presently announced 
her engagement to Cyril McQueen, a bright 

young man in the Criminal Investigation 
Department. She became a June bride. 

Major Graves appointed a new executive 

Executive Officer Captain Gates 

Adjutant Captain Rodda 

Supply Officer Captain Hoffman 
Detachment Commander Captain Maloney 

Moss Officer Captain Leo 

Finance Officer Captain Sutton 

Chief Nurse Lieutenant Moline 

First Sergeant Sergeant Humes 

These men picked up the pieces and put 
the unit on its feet again. Great changes 
were on the way. North Africa had become 
an independent theater and the Group in 
Oran became in effect a separate unit. The 
Group at Slade Camp was to be looked on 
as the nucleus of a new auxiliary surgical 
group. Requisitions for filler personnel were 
to be submitted. Cheltenham sent word "to 
spend the time in training." 

To train a surgical technician at Slade 
Camp called for a lot of ingenuity since the 
only equipment at hand was yards and yards 
of gas-proof curtains! Nothing daunted, 
Captain Maloney had his clerks type out an 
elaborate training schedule. On paper it 
looked wonderful. It listed everything from 
operating room technique to application of 
plaster casts. Of course, it was never fol- 
lowed bur that was immaterial. The in- 
spectors were impressed. 


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There were other difficulties. All the ex- 
perienced office personnel had been siphoned 
off to North Africa. The few typists that 
remained were wholly unprepared to cope 
with the mounting task of making out re- 
ports, answering correspondence, filing cir- 
culars, referring surveys, and classifying 
printed matter. Things were always at odds. 
Did the woodland-kindling report go in by 
the week or by the month? Did the swill 
report go to the Commanding Officer of the 
Base Section or to the Commanding General 
of the Theater? Was the subversive activities 
report confidential, restricted, secret, or top 
secret? Did the latest directive on toilet 
paper specify the amount that should be 
used? These were the questions that plagued 
Captain Rodda until Cheltenham agreed to 
supply a medical administrative officer. The 
Third Aux drew a prize* After Lieutenant 
Sensenbach reported for duty there was 
never any more trouble. 

In spite of these handicaps the Third Aux 
scored two significant victories almost from 
the start. 

The first one occurred when Slade Camp 
had to be turned back to the British. Under 
ordinary circumstances the supply officer is 
supposed to check all property against the 
existing inventory and if there are any short- 
ages he hears about it. But in wartime it's 
different. Slade Camp had been occupied 
by several American units and each time a 
change took place, the supply officer merely 
signed the camp over with the notation that 
military exigencies prevented a proper in- 
ventory. The British had appraised Slade 
Camp, the Americans had a piece of paper, 
and everybody was happy until it was time 
to turn the camp back. Then came the 

The Slade Camp inventory was a docu- 
ment of over fifty pages, listing thousands 

Third Auk ofticirt or Slade Camp. Top row: Sapienxa, Dworkin, Snider, Zerden, Prmttr*, 
Kempntr, Friedman, Bang. Second row: Gartner, Heruh, DeFabio, Dahifl, Hurwiri, Janei, King, 
Adalph, Beoudreault, Fiiher, Stoller, Campbell, La-, ten Third row; Daihe, Hillmen, Herreeu, 
Kondor, Foregger, Wolfe, Herman Brown, Humphrey, Leo, Sutton, Hoffman, Sprrtier, Bern- 
■rein, Two rug. Front raw: Tanilay, Moton*r, Gatei, Eldridge, Wood, Church, Gravet, Mdcomber, 
Kane, Spencer, Rodda, and Coffin. 


I 3 

of articles. To count them all would take 
a week. Most supply officers would have 
taken the easy way out. But not Captain 
Hoffman. He was thinking of the American 
taxpayer and he pressed every available 
Third Auxer into service. Officers, nurses, 
and men swarmed over the buildings, count- 
ing, checking, and rechecking. The results 
were most interesting. Nobody was much 
surprised at minor discrepancies but how 
had fifty gymnasium mats disappeared? And 
three hundred pallets? And six hundred 
blankets? When this matter was called to 
the attention of the British, "somebody** 
suddenly remembered that these articles had 
been signed out by British units while the 
Americans were technically accountable. 
This little discovery immediately balanced 
the books and Captain Hoffman quipped; 
"Lend-lease is a wonderful invention. We 
lend them a new battleship and they lease 
us a run-down camp." 

In the spring of 1943 the Wagner-Mur- 
ray-Dingle bill for socialized medicine was 
just beginning to raise its head. Medical 
officers wanted none of it but they had no 
way of expressing their disapproval because 
in the service nobody is supposed to write 
to his Congressman. At the direction of 
Major Graves, Lieutenant Sensenbach pre- 
pared a letter requesting permission for 
Third Auxers to waive this age-old rule. The 
letter became a cause cHebre. It was for- 
warded through channels and collected ten 
intermediate signatures before landing on 
the desk of the Secretary of War, Three 
months later it came back with a final en- 
dorsement that the request was granted. 
This was a major concession that was later 
given wide publicity. Third Auxers 

Life in England in 1945 was on the aus- 
terity pattern. Food, lodging, and public 

transportation were at a premium. Third 
Auxers missed especially the quick lunch 
counter of the American drug store* In Lon- 
don they could always fall back on the Red 
Cross clubs but in the country they had 
to cope with British rations which leaned 
heavily on coarse bread, watery vegetables, 
and boiled potatoes. Especially potatoes, 
England was potato-conscious. Every bill- 
board had its giant poster depicting a kip- 
pered herring and boiled potato with the 
WAR. It remained for Captain Lavieri to 
provide the catch line: "Sure, but how are 
we going to get the enemy to eat it?" 

And even such plain food as kippered 
herring and boiled potatoes was not always 
available. Dining rooms were open only at 
certain specified hours and it was not always 
possible to time one's arrival accordingly. 
Major Graves almost came to grief that way. 
On tour in a remote area of Wales, he had a 
streak of bad luck and showed up at the 
restaurants either too early or too late. 
"Sorry, sir," the waiter would say. "We have 
just stopped serving. Can I get you a cheese 
sandwich?" Being a man of hearty appetite, 

\ * i i I f 

The new executive itorf. Left ro right: Sut- 

ton, Moloney, Gravti, Gatei, Hoffman, Scn- 

»nbflch> Picture taken at Sudbury. 


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Dormitory ot Slcde Camp, Ilk the back- 
ground, Humphrey, 

Graves took the cheese sandwich. Often he 
would eat several cheese sandwiches and this 
diet repeated itself three times a day for four 
days in a row. Finally, the twenty-fifth 
sandwich got stuck sideways and Graves 
came back to camp with a full-blown case 
of intestinal obstruction. Whenever he left 
to go on a trip after that^ his roommates 
always inquired solicitously: "When you get 
back, shall we have the salts ready or would 
you prefer an enema?" 

Thus the weeks in Oxford quickly grew 
to a month and then to two months. In the 
daytime there were the sight-seeing trips, 
the bicycle rides, the track meets, and the 
boat races. At night there were the theater 
parties, the study groups, the pub crawJs, 
and the dances, It was an era of good fellow- 
ship that later came to be known as the 

At about this time an anonymous Oxford 
girl with poetic proclivities poured her heart 
out in the following plaintive lines: 




Dear old England's not the same; 
We dreaded invasion and it came, 
But no, it's not the beastly Hun; 
The goddam Yankee Army's come* 

We see them in the trains, the bus; 
There isn't room for both of us. 
We walk to let them have our seats, 
Then get run over by their jeeps. 

They moan about our lukewarm beer; 
Think it's like water over here. 
But after drinking two or more 
They spend the evening on the floor. 

And you should see them try to dance; 
They get a partner, start to prance. 
When you're half dead they stop and smile 
And say: "How's that, my honey chile?" 

We see them try to jitterbug; 
They turn and twist and pull and hug, 
It's enough to make red Indians jealous, 
Yet Yanks are civilized, so they tell us. 

England wot potato- con icieua. 


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Yankee officers cause us smiles 

With their colored pants you can see for 

We wonder tf they are mice or men; 
Decide they're wolves and shun their den, 

With admiration we often stare 
At all the ribbons they do wear, 
And think of deeds so bold and daring 
That win the ribbons they are wearing. 

Alas, they haven't fought the Hun, 
Nor glorious battles have they won. 
That little brown ribbon* it just denotes 
They crossed the Atlantic in big boats. 

We speak to them, they just look hazy, 
They think we're nuts, we think they're 

Yet, they arc Allies, we must be nice; 
They love us like the cat loves mice. 

They laugh at us for drinking tea, 
Yet a funnier sight you'd never see 
Than a gum-chewing Yank with a dull 

looking face; 
He'd raise a laugh most any place. 

They say they can shoot, yes, and fight. 
It's true, they fight when they are tight, 
I must admit their shooting's fine; 
They sure can shoot a damn-fast line. 

Third Am nurses at Slcdc Camp. Top row: Wtbtrer, Wright, Francei Davis, Beetling* Second 

row: Siron, Nathalie Dam, Green, Manic, Coldwell r Roe, Hubbard. Third row: Baker, Mart clip 

Johnson, Armbruiter, Brewer, Sorber, Janet Snyder, Henderson, Vogel. Bottom row? Stewart, 

Leveifle, Dietrich, Bixby, Moline I chief), Kibbard r Be it man, Root, and Poweri. 

3 i_ 


I 3 

They tel! you that you've teeth like pearls; 
They love your hair the way it curls; 
Your eyes would dim the brightest star; 
You're competition for Miss Lamarr. 

You are their life, their love, their all 
And for no other they'd ever fall. 
They'll love you* dear, till death do part 
And if you leave them, you'll break 
their heart. 

And then they leave you broken-hearted; 
The camp has moved and love departed. 
You wait ^or mail that does not come, 
Then realize you're awfully dumb. 

In a different town, in a different place, 
To a different girl, to a different face; 
"I love you, darling, Please be mine/' 
It's the same old Yank and the same old 

Whereupon an equally poetic Third Aux- 
er delivered himself of the following re- 




Dear old England's not the same; 
It's better since the Yankees came. 
No longer do they fear the Hun 
Because the U. S. Army's come. 

We ride their ancient trains for miles 
But always stand up in the aisles. 
And while we stand mid baggage-heaps 
The limeys ride in Lend-Lease jeeps. 

Of course we do not like their beer 
But what else have they over here. 
You try to get a second stout, 
They always say "We've just run out/' 

And when a Yank goes to a dance 
The poor guy doesn't have a chance. 
Some girl who springs up from her chair 
Will clutch him like a polar bear. 

I ve yet to see a girl so smug 
She hasn't learned our jitterbug. 
They try to imitate our style 
While we just struggle on and smile. 

Each song they play, they must admit 
Is always some new Yankee hit. 
And while they tell us of our wrongs 
Their bands keep murdering our songs. 

With our light pants we're wolves they say 
But still the girls don't stay away. 
You'll see a most unusual sight, 
These English lambs chase wolves by 
night ! 

This girl says we haven't even fought 

the Hun, 
Bur just suppose we had not come; 
I'm sure that she would feel quite silly 
With frauleins walking Piccadilly. 

Our long-range bombers battered France, 
Gave Jerry hell at every chance. 
In fact we have him so afraid 
The R« A, F. made a daylight raid! 

They laugh at us for chewing gum, 

But still* they say: "Have you got some, 



Today we hardly ever chew; 
We give it all away to you. 

They tell us we get too much pay 
And chat we toss our dough away, 
It*s a damn good thing our pay is high 
'Cause we pay double for what we buy. 

A quart of Scotch is a treasure today; 
We still don't think it's worth the pay. 
To the English, it*s 25 shillings* we've 

But to the Yanks, they'll charge five 


We tell the girls they've teeth like pearls; 
We love their hair the way it curls; 
For all these charms we'd go through fires; 
I'll admit we Yanks are damn good liars. 


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When we leave, these girls are broken- 

They're sad and lonely 'cause we've parted. 

But the very next night, at a dance, they 

Another Yank to replace their lover. 

To a different Yank with a different face, 
In the same old town, in the same old 

The same sweet girl will call you "honey" 
And love you as long as you spend your 


To the sweet young girl who wrote that 

For her Yank Allies so far from home, 
We propose a toast with our up-raised 

But not to her poetry because her poetry 


May she soon see the day when each Yank 

will depart 
And return to the girl who is still in his 

To American girls there's none other so 

They are much too darn*d clever to fall 

for a line. 

I know many folks will be happy once 

When the last dreadful Yank departs 

from this shore. 
A few peaceful years, then the sabers 

will rattle: 
Once again, we'll be welcomed to come 

fight your battle. 

Towards the middle of March the British 
sent word that they wished to reoccupy 
Slade Camp and Major Graves started on a 
hunt for new quarters. His most promising 
lead was at Cookham on the Thames, a holi- 
day resort not far from Lady Astor's Clive- 
den. The Thames is dear to every English- 

man. Not only did the buildings face the 
river but there was a whole fleet of pleasure 
boats, waiting to take the tenants joy-riding. 
Graves and Gates were fascinated. It so 
happened that they started their inspection 
in the glass-enclosed rotunda atop the main 
tower and Graves already had visions of him- 
self, megaphone in hand, directing the move- 
ments of a floating Third Aux on the river 
down below. Alas! The dream came to 
naught. The plumbing facilities of this 
princely estate would never have stood up 
under a Yank invasion* 

The only other available site was at out- 
of-the-way Sudbury in Derbyshire. Here, 
on the fringe of the Black Country the 28th 
Station Hospital had already established a 
home in a sprawling assortment of Nissen 
huts. Graves took one quick look and hur- 
ried back with the news: "The honeymoon 
is over. We move on 26 March," 

Saying goodbye to Oxford entailed a good 
many tearful scenes. It was hard to "un- 
cement" those pleasant relationships. There 
even was a pseudo-tragedy. This involved 
the commanding officer of the district, a 
hard-bitten old-timer who had made things 
miserable for the Third Aux on his first in- 
spections. From long experience, Colonel 
Rouse knew exactly where to look for trou- 
ble: in the mess. He pounced on every dirty 
pot, every dusty stove, every stray bit of 
garbage. Then Captain Leo had a brilliant 
idea. He appointed his brightest sergeant as 
KP pusher and held out handsome rewards. 
The results were startling. Immediately the 
pots and pans were neatly lined up, the 
stoves freshly painted, the garbage smartly 
disposed of. The old man was immensely 
pleased. After that, he used to drop in more 
and more often for a cup of coffee or an 
extra supply of the cigars he loved so well. 
On the day of departure he made a fatherly 
speech and received a spontaneous ovation. 
The strain was too much. The next day he 
had a heart attack that almost killed him. 


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The move to Sudbury was made by train. 
The Transportation Corps provided three 
special coaches and five box cars. The Third 
Aux was entitled to only three box cars but 
sixty bicycles filled two extra cars. On M 
Day, all the cars were hooked onto the Ox- 
ford-Birmingham local and the Third Aux 
was off. 

Contrary to all security rules, the trip was 
made in broad daylight and at five o'clock in 
the afternoon the Third Aux Special pulled 
into Sudbury, unmolested by friend or 
enemy. Trucks from the nearby Depot G-18 
drove up and took the Group to its new 
home. On the map, it looked interesting 
GROUNDS. These words were slightly de- 
ceiving however. Sudbury had neither deer 
nor ornaments but only rolling farmlands 
with the ancestral home of Lord Vernon at 
one end and the Nissen huts at the other. 

The Nissen hut was a product of the Sec- 
ond World War and in 1943 fairly dominat- 
ed the English landscape, Depending on 
one's viewpoint, it was either an architec- 
tural triumph, an outsized igloo, or a twen- 

tieth century cromlech. The ones at Sudbury 
were about average: the floors were always 
shedding dust, the walls were always drip- 
ping moisture, the windows were always too 
loose or too tight, and the light was always 
too poor for reading and too bright for 
sleeping. Later on, Norman Jafiray deliv- 
ered the following diatribe on the Nissen 

London, 1 April 23 16 
By special correspondent 
An astonishing archaeological find by a 
party of diggers in Derbyshire has opened 
up a whole new field of historical specula- 
tion. It is well known, of course, that Brit- 
ain long ago was once occupied by some 
people called "Romans." Not until now, 
however, had anyone guessed that a second 
invasion from overseas took place during 
the twentieth century by an armed horde 
known as "the Yanks." 

Reprinted from the Saturday Evening Post viih permmiwi 
from th« author. 

i £ 

Group at Slude Camp. Visitor, Groves, Stewart, Leo, Colonel Roma, Ltveille, Rod da, Moloney. 


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Who were these Yanks? All we have at 
present to go by is a roughly semicircular 
group of hutments, very primitive in nature 
which were apparently used to house the in- 
vaders* cattle. The date of the occupation is 
sec for us by scrawled inscriptions on the 
buildings. Though rude, they are still de- 
cipherable. One reads: "Christmas 1945. 
Three years in this damn (illegible) and me 
with 109 points/' Some of the inscriptions 
are even ruder. 

It seems reasonable to suppose then that 
during the Neo-Atomic Age an army of 
semicivihzed invaders conquered Britain and 
stayed there for a period of years, leaving 
these mute records of their occupation. 
Many of the implements they brought with 
them have been disinterred from the clayey 
soil — crude kitchen utensils to which an 

odor of prehistoric beans still clings, flints 
for making fire, and a few curiously shaped 
glass vessels labeled "Lighter Fluid," whose 
contents have an unpleasant acrid taste when 

Did the Yanks settle down in the new 
country, intermarry with the inhabitants, 
and raise families? "Brother, you ain't just 
akidding," to borrow an archaic expression 
carved in one of their runes. 

The Yanks left behind them no extensive 
baths, aqueducts, or roads, as did the Ro- 
mans. We can only conclude that they dis- 
dained the use of water, and that the rusted 
four-wheeled vehicles in which they rode 
were capable of negotiating cross-country 
terrain without benefit of highways. 

They came, they conquered, they depart* 
ed. How they reached Britain is, at present, 

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unknown to us. Perhaps there was once a 
land bridge connecting their continent with 
ours. At any rate, there has been no second 
visit from this mysterious horde of savages 
whose pitiful relics have so recently been 
unearthed in Derbyshire. 

When Third Auxers looked around a lit- 
tle more closely, they found that their billets 
were scattered over an area measuring easily 
a square mile. Clusters of huts were separated 
by waving grain fields and interconnected 
by cement walks. This was where the bi- 
cycles came into their own. Traffic was brisk 
especially during meal hours. With the lower 
half of their figures hidden from sight, the 
silently gliding cyclists seemed to float 
through space in a cotillion that would have 
fascinated the most exacting ballet master. 

The Rolling Third Aux was the new nick- 
name for the Group. 

Life at Sudbury quickly fell into a pat- 
tern. Reveille at eight, followed by a bicycle 
sprint for the mess hall. At nine, calisthenics 
or a road march. At ten, a lecture on any- 
thing from protein metabolism to the anat- 
omy of the bicycle. At eleven, a Kaffee 
Klatsch. At twelve, lunch, At one, language 
classes. Then a siesta. At four, volley ball 
and at five, cocktails. Then supper and, in 
the evening, a quiet bicycle ride to Ash- 
bourne or Uttoxeter. England was on dou- 
ble summer time which meant that dusk 
would come at ten and darkness at midnight. 
These were long evenings when the frogs in 
their pools and the hounds in their kennels 
supplied the music. It was the rustic life. 

Urban delights were few. The nearest 
town was Derby which offered little more 
than an ancient hotel, a few drab stores, and 

Sudbury Camp from the air. Hospital building* in the tenter, enlisted men'i quartan fa the 
right, nunti' quartan to the Left, officer*' quarter* in I he background. 


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a rundown theater. Birmingham was larger 
but no better. Moreover, a trip to these 
places involved travel in the "recon." This 
vehicle, whose full name was command re- 
connaissance car, l /z -ton, winch-equipped 
{some said wench-equipped) was about as 
well suited to the English roads as an ele- 
phant to a skating rink. With its massive 
tires, its high center of gravity, and its 
top-heavy chassis, it would pick up every 
little bump, magnify it a hundredfold, and 
pass it along to the unhappy occupants with- 
out benefit of springs. After several hours, 
the violent agitations would set up a sympa- 
thetic vibration in the human protoplasm, 
much as dust particles dance in the air. GI 
drivers delighted in whipping this dread- 
naught around the corners without the 
slightest regard for the local citizenry so 
that even the ordinarily well-poised Colonel 
Cutler once exclaimed: "For God*s sake, 
driver, slow down. You'll scare the hell out 
of these poor Englishmen!" Somehow the 
recan advertised the American way of living 
as no other article, with the possible excep- 
tion of chewing gum. 

Late in April there occurred an event that 
was of great interest to Third Auxers, Col- 
onel Diveley, the Orthopedic Consultant, 
came back from an inspection trip to Tu- 
nisia with several rolls of film, a head full 
of ideas, and a contagious enthusiasm. One 
of his observations was that surgical teams 
at the front need mobile operating rooms of 
their own. Here, his words fell on fertile 
soil because Colonel Cutler had already been 
working on the same idea. A mobile surgical 
unit was under construction at the 5 th Gen- 
eral Hospital. This unit was now turned 
over to the Third Aux for further experi- 

Now there also began to be some work for 
the teams- On the whole, the few hospitals 
that were operating in England in the spring 
of 1941 were not particularly busy but this 
gradually changed with the build-up of the 

Eighth Air Force. Daylight raids were cost- 
ly. To care for the casualties, the 12th Evac- 
uation Hospital set up in two stations in 
East Anglia. Third Aux teams helped staff 
these stations* It was the first opportunity 
to work on real casualties. 

An additional opportunity opened up in 
Cornwall, Here, American bombers some- 
times made emergency landings and there 
were no facilities to take care of them. Col- 
onel Cutler provided the solution. A wing 
of the civilian hospital in Truro was set aside 
and Third Auxers took over. It was a choice 
assignment. Later, another team was dis- 
patched to nearby Newquay with the same 

To send a team on detached service in 
those days involved a great deal of paper 
work, The procedure was the same, whether 
it concerned a team or a division. First, Col- 
onel Cutler notified Third Aux Headquar- 
ters that a team was needed at a certain 
hospital. Next he would request the Oper- 
ations Division to issue the orders. Opera- 
tions then called the Third Aux for the 
names and serial numbers of the team per- 
sonnel and sent the information to Base Sec- 
tion Headquarters. Base Section would 
verify the names and numbers, issue the 
orders, notify the Transportation Officer, 
and alert the Third Aux. All this took two 
weeks! The actual orders would usually ar- 
rive by teletype in the dead of night. This 
was only one example of the sort of thing 
that vexed Third Aux Headquarters 
throughout the summer. 

Another one had to do with promotions. 
Here, the orders which split the Third Aux 
were the stumbling block. Originally, the 
unit in England was the parent body and 
the unit in North Africa the detachment. 
On arrival in North Africa, the detachment 
found itself in an independent theater and 
quickly assumed the status of an independent 
unit. The question was now: Where was 


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the parent body? In England or in North 

The victims were the team leaders, mature 
surgeons who were entitled to the rank of 
major. Many of them had been taken into 
the Army as captains with the promise that 
they would receive their promotions within 
six months* In the summer of 1943 the six 
months had lengthened to a year and each 
time Major Graves submitted the recom- 
mendations he ran into the same answer: no 
promotions as long as the Third Aux was 
a two-headed hybrid. The issue was bandied 
back and forth for months until Graves by- 
passed channels and buttonholed the Deputy 
Theater Surgeon at Cheltenham. Then the 
promotions went through and ten team 
leaders were elevated in a mass ceremony. 

It was this sort of frustration that made 
the commanding officer of another auxiliary 
surgical group sigh: "This unit is a hot 
potato. Its problems, created but unsolved 
by higher echelons, are largely left to fate. 
Since field manuals and other War Depart- 
ment publications offer only vague general- 
izations about the functioning of an auxil- 
iary surgical group, subordinate headquar- 
ters do not understand and will not make 
appropriate decisions. Each time a major de- 
cision is to be made, it requires elaborate 
explanations which the stereotyped individ- 
ual cannot understand. To accomplish com- 
mon-sense results, the devious route must 
be followed. The devious route, unorthodox 
and appalling to the rigid mind, often results 
in mighty catacylsms of disapprobation, 

I 3 

Three frustrated Third A users: Humphrey, Campbell, CrondaU 


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When there is no precedent, realism goes by 
the board. For an auxiliary surgical group 
there is no precedent in man or nature. It 
is strictly an illegitimate orphan, dependent 
on charity, deprived of privilege, cursed by 
many* praised by few, understood by none/* 

At Sudbury Third Auxers meanwhile ex- 
celled at volley ball, bicycling, and pub 
crawling. Of the three, bicycling was the 
most popular, although it did present its 
complications as the following story illus- 

On a beautiful Saturday morning two 
Third Auxers decided to visit Dovedale, a 
picturesque gorge on the edge of the Peak 
district, Dovedale was about twenty miles 
away and our two adventurers were not sure 
that they could cycle that far. They put 
their bicycles on the train at Sudbury, in- 
tending to get off at Ashbourne, cycle to 
Dovedale, stay overnight at the Izaak Wal- 
ton Hotel, and return to camp on Sunday, 
It looked foolproof. 

Everything was fine until the train pulled 
into Ashbourne. Then the two would-be 
cyclists discovered that the conductor had 
forgotten to put their bicycles on. Since the 
next train would not arrive till late that 
evening, the only thing to do was to stay 
overnight in Ashbourne and pick up the bi- 
cycles the next morning. Ashbourne had 
only one small inn and, of course, that was 
full. The innkeeper told them to try Mrs. 
Jones down the street. Mrs. Jones lived a 
mile away. She was full too but she had a 
cousin that ran a boarding-house in the 
country. "Strife ahead. You cahn't miss it." 
The hikers did miss it and when they finally 
found it they were so tired, they went 
straight to bed* 

Next day, bright and early, the travelers 
retraced their steps to the station in the hope 
that their bicycles had been delivered. They 

had! But now another obstacle appeared. 
The over-conscientious baggage master had 
locked the bicycles up and gone home for 
the day! How to find him? Once more, the 
Third Auxers struck out. Their quest led 
from one farmhouse to another and lasted 
the better part of the day. When they finally 
recovered the elusive key, they had lost all 
enthusiasm for exploring Dovedale. Hun- 
gry, footsore, and dejected, they Jimpcd 
back to Sudbury. Theirs was a lost week- 

After Dovedale, the greatest tourist at- 
traction for Third Auxers was Scotland, 
Major Graves chose to see it from the saddle 
of a bicycle. Let him speak for himself. 

Captain Simon* docs the konon in the 
ablution hut. 


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"I had just acquired a geared lightweight 
and I was anxious to put it to the test. Some 
weeks before, I had asked a Scottish friend 
what to see in Scotland and he had answered: 
'Start with the Lowlands and finish with the 
Highlands. But take a cape along. It will 
be wet,* I never had better advice. 

My first stopping point was the Lowther 
Hills, the finest heather tract in the world. 
When I arrived there, the sun was already 
setting. Each hillside caught the rays at a 
different angle and assumed a hue of its own. 
The play of colors was fantastic* I was cap- 

The next morning I was warned that 
c there was a bit of a fog aboot. ' This turned 
out to be a gross understatement. The fog 
was a downright rain against which even my 
Scottish cape was no protection. Into the 
teeth of it I headed. Through Gourock, 
across the Firth of Clyde, and up to Loch 
Lomond. The farther I got, the harder it 
rained. At Luss I knew that I had had it. 
Torrents of water came down the hills. Ben 
Lomond was completely hidden from sight. 
White caps dotted the water. Trees sagged 
under the onslaught of the elements. I 
thought that I had come to the end of the 
world. But wait, what was that? Praise 
the Lord* An inn! 

The Calquhoun Arms is one of the most 
attractive small hotels in Scotland and on 
this particular day it bulged with a crowd 
that had come to celebrate the selection of 
Luss as the most picturesque village in all 
Scotland. For my part, it could have been 
voted the most forsaken village in Scotland 
but that was immaterial. The Calquhoun 
Arms was for me. In no time I changed my 
clothes, drank my tea, and joined the party. 
For two days we toasted Luss, sang songs, 
listened to speeches, and looked out over the 
rain-swept hills. It was an experience that 
I would not have missed for anything. 

Finally the storm blew itself out. I said 
goodbye to the Calquhoun Arms and con- 

tinued in a northerly direction. My path 
led across lonely moors, desolate uplands, 
and barren hills* Then it descended to the 
waters of Loch Leven at Ballachulish. It not 
only descended, it disappeared! According 
to the map, the same road continued on the 
opposite shore but as far as I could see there 
was no ferry to take me there. I yelled, I 
yodeled. I whistled. The only result was 
that in the distance a dog began to bark. 
From the chimney of a farmhouse on the far 
shore, smoke lazied up to the sky. That 
meant food! And I was hungry. What to do? 

I might be standing there yet if I had not 
had the good sense to go on a search. Some- 
where hidden in a tree I came upon a wood- 
en box with a large bell, WHANG!!! I 
whacked it hard enough to wake the ghosts 
of all the clans. At length a leisurely figure 
sauntered out of the house. He launched a 
small rowing boat and started bucking the 
strong current. Halfway across, he started 
baling out frantically with an old can and 
when he eventually reached me, his boat was 
half-swamped. I was worried but the old 
man assured me that all would be well on 
the return trip because there was only one 
bicycle. He braced my wheel in the front 
end and we set out. Our little boat bobbed 
violently up and down. Once or twice I 
thought that we were all going to wind up 
on the bottom of the loch but the ferryman 
knew his business. For the magnificent sum 
of half a shilling (about a dime) I was 
transported across the treacherous waters 
and I suffered nothing worse than a pair of 
wet feet in the process. That night I arrived 
in Fort William. 

From here my trail led along the Cale- 
donian Canal to Inverness and then south 
again through the Grampians. Here I had 
another narrow escape, I had been battling 
a head wind all day and arrived late at night 
in the little town of Dawlhinney. The only 
hotel in town was filled. I looked at my map. 
The next village was thirty miles away, 


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across a steep mountain range. I'd never 
make it. At this very moment a hospitable 
Scot came along and invited me into his 
home. Never did I appreciate a meal and 
a bed more than that night. 

I was now on the home stretch. The 
country suddenly became less interesting 
and, like the horse that smells the stable, I 
instinctively increased my pace. Everything 
went well till noon. Then the strain began 
to tell and I developed a bad case of what 
cyclists call road weariness. In this unhappy 
condition, the wheels feel dead, the saddle 
gets lumpy, the chain seems loose, the 
muscles ache, the legs are heavy, the wind 
blows ill, the clouds spell rain, and the rider 
is overcome by the pain of monotony as 
much as by the monotony of pain. Small 
wonder then that I found myself overtaken 
by a Scottish lass who waved her hand at me 
in a gesture of superiority. That was enough. 
I dismounted to catch my breath and mas- 
sage the unwilling legs. It began to rain. 
I wished that I had never seen my bicycle. 

Somewhat improved* I shifted into bot- 
tom gear and started up the long hill. Then 
came a swift descent and who should be 
standing there but the same girl who had 
passed me an hour before! She had put her 
cycle against the verge and was looking dis- 
consolately at a broken chain. My first 
thought was; 'Serves her right!* Then I 
reflected on how J would feel in her position 
and I suddenly remembered that I had put 
an extra chain link in my bag when I started. 
I swung around and offered my services. Had 
I not been bald and bashful, I think that she 
would have kissed me. The damage was easy 
to repair and within a few minutes she was 
off in a splatter of mud* I never saw her 

The pay-off came later. Towards evening 
when there were still many painful miles be- 
tween me and my destination I came to a 
hill. I mustered my last bit of energy, bore 

down on the pedals, and bang I There went 
my own chain! A lonely road. A thick fog. 
An early dusk. A weary traveler. What price 

When they wanted to write home about 
such experiences Third Auxers had the cen- 
sor to reckon with. Some took him seriously, 
some did not. After the Group arrived in 
Sudbury a prankster wrote home as follows: 

"After leaving where we used to be and 
not knowing that we were coming here, we 
could not tell whether we would arrive or 
not. We did and now we are here. The 
weather here is just as it usually is in this 
season but not at all like it was in the place 
where we used to be. We brought every- 
thing with us plus a lot of things that we 
acquired in the place where we lived before 
we came here. The whole thing is quite a 
new experience because it is not at all like 
where we were before. 

General Paul Hawley, Chief Surgeon 
of the ETO- 


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It is now time to stop this letter before I 
give away too much information to the 

As the summer wore on, it became ap- 
parent to everybody that the strategic em- 
phasis was shifting back to England. In 
August Allied leaders selected Normandy as 
the point of attack and May 1944 as the 
target date. The problem now was to amass 
the necessary implements. It was done with 
prodigal hand. On D-Day the Americans 
had not only 1.5 million troops in England 
but also 20 million square feet of warehouse 
space, 44 million square feet of open storage 
space, Jf.OOO vehicles, 20,000 railroad cars, 
and 1,000 locomotives. They had 94,000 hos- 
pital beds and enough reserves for 30,000 
more. Such preparations could not go on 
very long without making themselves felt. 

But where did the Third Aux come in? 
That was a question that baffled even the 
men at Cheltenham. Plans were changed no 
less than a dozen times. It would be weari- 
some to recount all the false starts in their 
repetitious detail, but a quick summary is 
of interest. 

On 19 March Major Graves in a letter to 
SOS Headquarters pointed out the anom- 
alous position of the Group in England and 
the difficulty of acquiring supplies without 
a table of allowances. At this time the Third 
Aux had absolutely nothing except a few 
sets of surgical instruments. The answer was 
to prepare requisitions based on a hypotheti- 
cal table. Captain Hoffman wore himself 
out composing the document. It was never 

On 3 April General Hawlcy instructed 
the Operations Division to draw up plans 
for a table of organization which would 
eliminate all specialist teams and reconstitute 
the Group as a collection of general surgical 
teams. Major Graves had many conferences 
on how this should be done. The only tan- 

gible result was the transfer of two neuro- 
surgeons and one plastic surgeon. 

On 14 April Colonel Cutler instructed 
Major Graves to reorganize his roster in such 
a way that there would be one splint team 
and one shock team for every surgical team. 
Again Major Graves was on the spot because 
a splint or shock team sounded about like 
the end of the line to most Third Auxers. 

On 1 5 April a letter arrived from Colonel 
Blatt with the request that all records be 
sent to the North African theater. This 
request was shelved because General Hawley 
insisted that the Third Aux remain at 
least nominally under his control. Again 
much futile correspondence. 

On 13 May another request arrived from 
Colonel Blatt to have the Group in England 
sent to North Africa. Cheltenham now 
really got busy. When the smoke had cleared, 
the War Department itself had made the 
decision: the Third Aux was to stay in 

On 8 June Operations made up a new 
table of organization which dropped the 
nurses, revamped the personnel, and added 
greatly to the transportation. The idea was 
to build the Third Aux in England into a 
full-sized Group. On 10 June 69 enlisted 
men were assigned as initial fillers. 

On 23 June all this was cancelled. Now 
the War Department reversed itself and de- 
cided that the whole Third Aux was to be 
reassembled in North Africa. Much scurry- 
ing about. 

On 1 $ July when the tentative sailing 
date had been set for September and when 
all the new rosters, tables, and inventories 
had been consigned to the waste basket, 
word came down from Cheltenham: "Hold 
everything. You can stay here after all." 

On 3 August the excess enlisted strength 
was dropped. The only permanent gain out 
of the transaction was Lieutenant Semen- 


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On 21 August Major Graves was greeted 
with a teletype message: "Third Auxiliary 
Surgical Group to be shipped to North Af- 
rica as soon as First Auxiliary Surgical Group 
arrives in England*" (The First Aux had 
been organized at Fort Sam Houston in De- 
cember 1942 and was due in England in 
September 1943.) 

September was exceptional. There was no 
news. The men spent their time practicing 
with the bedding roll. 

On 4 October came the final pronuncia- 
mento: "Stay where you are. You will be 
joined by the Mediterranean contingent 
soon/' This was the last order in the dizzy- 
ing series. 

From all this it can be seen that life at 
Sudbury was not as placid as it looked on 
the surface. Some Third Auxers took it 
calmly, some gnashed their teeth, and some 
coined new expressions. Captain Hoffman 
took the prize. His description: 1 race, rat, 

The general unrest was broken somewhat 
toward the middle of September by the news 
that the Sudbury camp was to be taken over 
by the 108th General Hospital. The 28th 
Station Hospital went to Ireland and the 
Third Aux moved to a new camp at Shug- 
borough Park. In this triple shift the Third 
Aux came out the winner because Shug- 
borough was beautiful. Situated some 

Major Gravei drowns hit sorrow*: 

"Ha it nor drunk who from rhe Moor 
Can rite again and drink some mora 
But he is drunk who proitrato lie! 
And cannot drink and cannot rite." 


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twenty-five miles southwest of Sudbury, the 
grounds stretched all the way from the con- 
fluence of the rivers Trent and Sow to the 
Cannock Chase. There were stands of mag- 
nificent beech trees^ miles of winding foot- 
paths, and views of rural charm. This was 
the estate of Lord and Lady Lichfield. Third 
Auxers spent many an hour admiring it. 

For a brief two months the Third Aux 
surrounded itself with something resembling 
comfort. The post was large enough to 
house three auxiliary surgical groups. Now 
for once there were plenty of tables, plenty 
of chairs, plenty of stoves, plenty of coal, 
plenty of everything. A few of the hut- 
ments were opened, furnished, and trans- 

formed into a reasonable facsimile of home- 
A club room got under way, activities picked 
up, and the Third Aux acquired a mascot. 
The club room especially was a popular spot 
because Captain Maloney always kept a pot 
of coffee brewing there. To shunt inspectors 
away, Maloney instructed Klein bardt to 
paint out the sign OFFICERS CLUB and 
to substitute OFFICERS LECTURE 
HALL. This prompted Kleinbardt to the 
following doggerel: 

Go to, and change the names of things, 
It will not fill us with dismay. 
The comfort that a proverb brings 
Makes everything okay. 

I 3 

Snuoborough Manor had all the traditional beauty at a great English ettate. 


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"A rose smells like a rose," I'm told, 
Although its name be changed. 
Its fragrant perfume, clear and cold 
Defies the rules arranged. 

Marie was christened Mary 
Before the fashion came; 
So, though her name may vary 
"We know she's still the same. 

In camp the food we eat is chow; 
To call it food would be a shame. 
I would submit with humble bow 
"Each one for me is still the same," 

I could go on forever, 
Give samples such as those, 
But out-do I could never 
The one Maloney chose* 

That building by the towers 
Holds PERSONNEL and such 
And OFFICERS MESS and flowers 
And anything the hand can clutch. 

So now, the trick that's best of all, 
This place of brass recess: 
They call it now a LECTURE HALL 
But it's still an OFFICERS MESS. 

The social program came to a climax with 
the Halloween dance, the most ambitious 
party yet, An entire ward was converted 
into a ballroom. Guests came from near and 
far. Music and liquor were of the best. The 
committee had even provided favors. Every 
officer received a handsome paperweight 
made from masonry that was chipped from 

the Houses of Parliament by German bombs. 
Another chapter was coming to a close. 

On 24 November Colonel Blatt brought 
his contingent back from Sicily and installed 
it temporarily in Lichfield Barracks. There 
was great rejoicing and on 7 December the 
reunion was duly celebrated with a dance 
at the Lichfield Barracks Officers Club. 

The two halves of the Group continued 
their separate existence until Colonel Blatt 
found suitable quarters. He selected Bewd- 
ley, not by preference but by necessity. The 
Lichfield contingent arrived there on 19 
December and the Shugborough contingent 
on 22 December, The Third Aux was to- 
gether again. 


I 3 





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BeWley From the air- Upper camp an the left, lower camp an the right. 



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Bewdley was grim. In the dead of winter 
the hutments sprawled over a barren slope 
without trees, without grass, without shrubs, 
without any of the features that had made 
Shugborough so attractive. The nearby vil- 
lage of Stourport was unprepossessing. The 
countryside was bleak. The prospects for 
early work were nil. 

Instead of snug Nissen huts, Bewdley had 
only cavernous hutments that defied every 
effort at comfort. Colonel Blatt and Major 
Harper moved their beds to their office. 
Major Graves and Major Gates were jammed 
in a storage closet. A few of the ranking 
officers had private cubicles. All the others 
were scattered haphazardly through the 
yawning interior of two unfurnished hut- 
ments. Belongings went on the floor. Cots 
became writing desks, card tables, and lunch 
counters. Intellectual pursuits were limited 
to chess and poker. In the storage closet no 
activity of any kind was possible, except re- 
ligious meditation. Major Gates tacked a 
sign on the door: 

Graves-Gates Retreat 
Early morning devotions 
Midday sacred music 
Candlelight vesper service 
Confessions every Wednesday 
Come one and all 

The place was full of physical as well as 
mental hazards, not the least of which was 
the water reservoir. This reservoir was sand- 
wiched in between two hutments and 

reached to within a few feet of a cement 
walk. No fence or sign guarded the spot. 
The inevitable happened on a particularly 
dark and sinister night. 

Major Whitsitt and Captain Black ar- 
rived at Bewdley from an assignment in 
Birmingham. Never having seen the camp 
before, they asked for directions, "Just fol- 
low the walk," they were told. The men 
hurried along, Whitsitt well in front. Sud- 
denly Black heard a terrific splash, followed 
by an ominous silence. He stopped. What 
was this? An ambush? Had the camp been 
seized by German parachutists? He called 

"Jim! Where are you? Can you hear me?" 

No answer. This meant foul play. Draw- 
ing his surgeon *s scalpel (the only weapon 
he had with him at this moment) , Black ad- 
vanced slowly, ready to snatch his comrade 
from the clutches of the invaders. Finally 
he was able to pierce the darkness and he 
saw a placid pool with Whitsitt's head in 
the middle. 

"Why — you son of a gun! Why don't you 
say something?" 

"Damn it, Blackie. At least you could do 
me the pleasure of walking in too!" 

The Third Aux had been earmarked for 
First Army. It was not immediately possible 
to attach the Group to First Army because 
troop lists as yet made no provision for 
auxiliary surgical groups. This technicality 
was remedied in the spring. Liaison work 


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- 3 

began at once. A field army at full strength 
has three corps and each corps has three 
divisions — a total of 100,000 fighting men, 
In January 1944 First Army was far short 
of this number* Army Headquarters how- 
ever had been operating in Bristol since the 
previous October and here Colonel Blatt es- 
tablished contact with such men as the Army 
Surgeon, Colonel Rogers, the Army Surgical 
Consultant, Lieutenant Colonel Crisler and 
the Chief of Operations, Colonel Snyder, 
These men sat down to discuss the deploy- 
ment of the Group. 

Next came the internal reorganization. 
Major Harper continued as Executive Offi- 
cer, Major Graves reverted to his status as 
Plans and Training Officer, Major Maloney 
carried on as Detachment Commander, and 
Lieutenant Sensenbach became Assistant 
Adjutant under Lieutenant Penterman. 
Chief Nurse Moline was replaced with Lieu- 
tenant Niemeyer. First Sergeants Nelson 
and Humes continued to operate in their 

The Third Aux also lost a number of its 
most valuable officers at this time, These in- 
cluded such stalwarts as Majors Gates, Hatt, 
Rroyles, Rilling, Block, and several others. 
Somewhat later there was an exchange of 
officers with the 44th Evacuation Hospital 
and a dozen nurses were transferred to other, 
more static organizations. 

The Third Aux now embarked on its final 
training program, based on the experience 
of those who had just returned from the 
Mediterranean Theater. Major Graves ar- 
ranged a series of conferences and demon- 
strations illustrating the practical side of 
field surgery. Here the veterans from Sicily 
showed the others how to make Tobruk 
splints, flutter valves, lighted retractors, pel- 
vic rests, suction pumps, traction jackets, 
transfusion equipment, and many other use- 
ful devices. Outside speakers were brought 
in and Third Auxers were sent out. There 

was so much material that it took a full two 
months to digest it. 

The nurses were not forgotten because 
it was already known that they would be 
working with the teams. They brushed up 
on their technique, prepared numerous drape 
sheets, and even mastered the portable auto- 
claves. These women did themselves proud. 

During April and May, five mobile sur- 
gical units were delivered to the Third Aux* 
These were of two types: the PROCO type 
and the surgical truck type. The story of 
these units is well worth telling. 

The PRCX^O unit. This was the name for 
a whole class of new equipment that was 
developed especially for the invasion of Nor- 
mandy (the abbreviation stands for Project 
for Continental Operations). 

The father of the PROCO unit was Col- 
onel Cutler, Colonel Cutler had seen the 
Group* Complementaire in action during 
the First World War and when he arrived 
in England in the spring of 1942, he wanted 
a similar unit for the American Army, Ac- 
cordingly, he instructed Lieutenant Colonel 
Zollinger of the 5th General Hospital to 
develop a pilot model. It has already been 
pointed out how the reports from North 

Tha wotei reiervolr, iff* of mbtle treachery. 


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Africa strengthened Colonel Cutler tn his 
convictions. Colonel Zollinger demonstrat- 
ed his unit on 18 May 1943, It consisted of 
two tents with operating table, generators, 
Sterilizing equipment* and a number of small 
items that were stored in sixteen medical 
chests. The entire unit could be carried on 
one 2^-ton truck. 

On 28 June the unit was turned over to 
the Third Aux for further development. 
Captain Maloney spent a great deal of time 
during the ensuing two months ironing out 
the kinks. And kinks there were. The reason 
was that the warehouses in England did not 
always have the desired items and even when 
they did, the supply officers were not always 
willing to fill requisitions without a table of 
allowances. Colonel Zollinger had had to 
cut corners. His product was a composite 
of many different kinds of equipment, both 
American and British. 

Captain Maloney and his men worked 
hard. The tentage was increased, black-out 
entrances were provided, the electrical plant 
was streamlined, transfusion equipment was 
revamped, the generator was stepped up, 
the stoves were improved, transportation 
was expanded, and a water trailer was in- 
cluded. Two essential items were added: 
an anesthesia machine and a suction machine. 
The unit was tested under the most varied 
conditions and it was demonstrated repeat- 
edly at the Medical Field Service School in 
Shrivenham. In September Captain Maloney 
handed in his recommendations for a table 
of allowances. 

The revised table was approved by the 
Theater Surgeon and by the Commanding 
General of the ETO but it was disapproved 
by the War Department because of the 
parallelism with the surgical trucks. How- 
ever, through the influence of Colonel Cut- 
ler, the plans were eventually submitted to 
the War Planning Board and approved as a 
PROCO, The Services of Supply then au- 

thorized the construction of twenty- four 
experimental models, but refused the re- 
quest for additional personnel. The units 
arrived in England on I March 1944 and the 
Third Aux received three of them a few 
weeks later. 

When Major Maloney inspected the var- 
ious chests and crates* he hardly recognized 
his brain child. So many substitutions had 
been made that the total bulk was three 
times the original. Some of these substitu- 
tions were crippling, others ludicrous. Cer- 
tain essential items, such as the electrical 
wiring and the autoclaves, were left out 
completely. The Quartermaster had added 
a portable Castle light but a Castle light is 
not sufficient at an operating table. The 
generators were so large that they took up 
all the space in the one truck that was sup- 
posed to carry the entire unit. Oxygen tanks 
had been left out and nitrous oxide substi- 
tuted, although nitrous oxide alone could 
never be used. The sixteen empty medical 
chests that were needed turned out to be 
sixteen packed chests and their contents was 
first aid equipment! For good measure, sev- 
eral typewriters had been thrown in. But 
the prize was the castor oil. The requisition 
had called for a three ounce bottle, to be 
used as eye drops. The Quartermaster sup- 
plied the oil only in ten-gallon cans. A ten- 
gallon can was what the unit god 

The PROCO unit. 


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Undaunted, Major Maloney started to set 
things aright. The equipment was of six 
different kinds: medical, quartermaster, sig- 
nal, engineer, ordnance, and adjutant gen- 
eral. Each department had its own supply 
dumps. One kind of wire might be stocked 
at one dump and another kind of wire at 
another dump! Major Maloney scurried 
from one end of the country to the other 
and with much bickering was able to re- 
habilitate the units. Transportation was ad- 
justed to three personnel-carriers and one 
water trailer. The units were now ready to 
go into action. 

The Surgical Truck, Operating. When 
General Kirk inspected the battle front in 
Tunisia he not only realized the difficulties 
under which the surgical teams labored but 
he also saw the type of vehicle that could be 
readily adapted to the purpose he had in 
mind. This was the surgical truck of the 
armored division. As early as 1941, the 1st 
Armored Division and the Equipment Lab- 
oratory at Carlisle had collaborated on the 
design of a mobile operating room. It was 
soon realized that the interior of a 2 "4-ton 
truck, no matter how well designed, can 
never make a satisfactory operating room 
simply because there is not enough space. 
Therefore it was decided to build a lean-to 
tent and use it as an operating room. Such 
units were used in Tunisia and were found 
highly practicable for surgery of the clear- 
ing station type. To adapt them for the 
use of a surgical team doing first-priority 
surgery, it was necessary only to make cer- 
tain modifications. General Kirk ordered 
these modifications as soon as he returned 
to Washington. 

The work was done during the summer 
of 1943 at the Equipment Laboratory. Gen- 
eral Kirk's orders were for a tent with double 
walls, tarpaulin floor, black-out entrance, 

and room for two operating tables. It was 
to be so constructed that it would be possible 
to go from the truck to the tent without 
breaking the black-out. The pilot model 
was passed on by the First Aux and tested 
by the Fourth Aux. Further improvements 
were made. Construction began late in 1943 
and the first trucks arrived in England in 
April, The Third Aux received two of 

As soon as they inspected the equipment, 
Third Auxers saw that their own PROCO 
unit had been eclipsed. In fact, the truck's 
facilities were in many respects superior to 
those of the field hospital. These advantages 
stood out immediately: 

1. The operating tent of the surgical 

truck was better proportioned than 
the operating tent of a field hospital. 
The truck tent was square. The field 
hospital tent was rectangular. In a 
rectangular tent there is a constant 
traffic problem, 

2. The truck tent was double-walled and 
the inside liner was painted white 
which added immeasurably to the effi- 
ciency of the lighting. The double walls 
also provided air-conditioning. In ad- 

The itirgical truck. 


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d it ion, the truck tent had a canvas 
floor, a ready-made black-out entrance, 
and a large window. The field hospital 
tent had none of these and was par- 
ticularly uncomfortable because of the 
wide swing in temperatures. 

3. The equipment of the surgical truck 
included many highly desirable items 
that field hospitals either lacked or 
were constantly short of: broncho- 
scopes, chest instruments, a fracture 
table, suction machines, rubber aprons, 
and many more. In fact, the only 
major deficiency of the truck was the 
lack of an anesthesia machine. 

4. In the surgical truck all the equip- 
ment was carried in one vehicle. Noth- 
ing could get lost. When equipment is 
scattered over several trucks as it is 
with clearing stations and field hos- 
pitals, the loss of one truck cripples 
the entire station. 

J, The surgical truck was commodious 
enough to carry the entire team in ad- 
dition to the equipment. In the com- 
bat zone a team with its own trans- 
portation has a tremendous advantage. 

Thus, the surgical truck seemed to be the 

The X-ray Unit 

answer to many of the problems that had 
plagued the Third Aux from the beginning 
and it might be thought that everybody 
could now sit back and relax. But such 
was not to be. The mobile surgical units 
rank as one of the minor fiascos of the great 
invasion, What happened? 

When the units arrived in England, D 
Day was only a few short months away. 
Loading lists had been made up long before. 
There was no room for additional equip- 
ment. The units had to wait. And yet, the 
crying need for them was during the early 
days of the beachhead. On Omaha, clearing 
stations were as much as three days behind 
schedule and field hospitals even more. It 
was during this phase that the added equip- 
ment would have been priceless. 

After the units did arrive, they were im- 
mediately put in the field. But the greatest 
bottle neck had already passed. Medical sup- 
plies began to catch up. Nevertheless, two 
surgical trucks and two PROCO units saw 
service through most of the Normandy cam- 
paign and they fully established their worth. 
They were highly mobile, thoroughly trust- 
worthy, and eminently practical. If they 
had any faults, they were minor faults: 

1. It might be said that the units required 

more personnel than a surgical team 
could spare. In this respect they were 
inefficient. To operate the autoclave 
and the generator took one full-time 
man. A team could not spare a tech- 
nician for this purpose. Moreover, this 
service was already provided by the 
hospital. The individual servicing of 
the unit was a duplication of effort. 

2. The essential elements of a field hos- 
pital should be under one roof. This 
was difficult when a mobile unit was 
part of the set-up. The special tent did 


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not fit in well with the usual arrange- 
ment of four ward-tents in the form 
of a cross. 

In spite of their many good points, the 
units were never used to any great extent. 
They were designed at a time when the field 
hospital had not yet appeared on the scene. 
Once these hospitals took over, the need for 
the units was largely eliminated. Even under 
stress and strain, field hospital commanders 
preferred to use their own equipment rather 
than call on the units. In the eyes of these 
commanders, the units were competitors. 
Consequently, they died a natural death. 
Bit by bit, the trucks were dismantled. Some 
were converted into living quarters by high- 
er headquarters. Some were kept merely as 
transportation. Some became mobile supply 
rooms. All were eventually returned to the 
medical dumps, mere skeletons. The experi- 
ment failed for lack of coordination. 

The Third Aux acquired still another type 
of mobile unit: the x-ray unit. Early in the 
fall of 1945 Colonel Allen, the Radiological 
Consultant for the ETO, returned from the 

General Rogers, Fint Army Surgeon. 

battle front in Italy with the recommenda- 
tion that mobile x-ray units be developed. 
He called on the Third Aux for advice on 
field equipment. Again the basic vehicle 
was a 2j^-ton truck, backed up against a 
small wall tent. Again there were numerous 
difficulties because there was no official table 
af allowances. These difficulties were even- 
tually overcome however and a number of 
the units took to the field. A brief analysis 
of their work appears in the statistical sec- 

Meanwhile an important change took 
place at Headquarters. On 21 February 
Colonel Blatt, who had served his unit wisely 
and well, changed places with the Com- 
manding Officer of the 44th Evacuation 
Hospital, Lieutenant Colonel Elmer A. Lod™ 
mell. On 24 April, Major Harry P. Harper, 
left to take command of the S 1st Field Hos- 
pital, His place was taken by Major Wil- 
liam F, Maley who continued in this capacity 
until 22 August. Then Lieutenant Colonel 
Carl C, Francis became executive officer and 
Major Maley became a special liaison officer. 

On 20 March Third Auxers had their first 
look at the First Army Surgeon, Colonel 
John A. Rogers, Colonel Rogers came to 
Bewdley to brief the Group. Without men- 
tioning names or places, he drew the follow- 
ing picture: 

1. For the invasion the general surgical 
teams would be attached to the medical 
battalions of the engineers special bri- 
gades* These battalions would come 
ashore at approximately H plus four, 
well ahead of the division medical bat- 
talions. The teams would do the sur- 
gery at the clearing stations set up by 
these special medical battalions. 

2. One general surgical team would be 
attached to each airborne division for 
a glider landing well in advance of H 


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3, As soon as the field hospitals arrived, 
the teams would transfer to these hos- 
pitals and do all first-priority surgery, 

4, Specialist teams would follow as soon 
as possible and work wherever their 
services would be most valuable. 

5, Nurses would come in with the evac- 
uation hospitals, but only for the cross- 
ing of the Channel. On landing, they 
would be attached to the field hospitals. 
They would be under the administra- 
tive control of the hospital but under 
the professional control of the teams, 

6, An advance Third Aux Headquarters 
would be landed early so that the com- 
manding officer would keep in close 
touch with the teams from the very 

7, Field hospital personnel would be noti- 
fied that their functions were primar- 
ily administrative, rather than pro- 

8- In the evacuation hospitals the teams 
would function under the chief of 

These words were music to the Third 
Auxers because it was exactly what they 
had been fighting for. 

On 25 March another important visitor 
appeared. He was Lieutenant Colonel Jo- 
seph A, Crisler, Surgical Consultant for First 
Army, As supervisor of al! surgery in First 
Army hospitals, he was vitally interested in 
the teams. His guiding hand became im- 
mediately apparent. Together with Colonel 
Lodmell, he interviewed all the prospective 
team leaders and briefed them on their re- 
sponsibilities, A team roster was now com- 
piled, with each team made up of four offi- 
cers and four men. The stage was set. 

The first orders arrived shortly after- 
wards. Between 27 March and 22 April, 
*wenty teams left Bewdley to take up station 




with the medical battalions in the south of 
England. The assignments were as follows: 
I. Teams 1, 2, J, 4, J, and 6 
261st Medical Battalion 
First Engineers Special Brigade 
Teams 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 
61st Medical Battalion 
Fifth Engineers Special Brigade 
Teams 1>, 14, H, 16, 17, and 18 
60th Medical Battalion 
Sixth Engineers Special Brigade 
Team 19 

307th Medical Company 
82nd Airborne Division 
Team 20 
326th Medical Company 
101st Airborne Division 
This left only five teams at the home base. 
Teams 20, 22, and 25 were used to establish 
liaison with the field hospitals. Teams 24 
and 25 were used to man the mobile units. 

Of these assignments, the ones with the 
airborne divisions were the most dangerous 
and Colonel Lodmell called for volunteers. 
He did not lack applicants. 

During the weeks immediately preceding 
the invasion, the south of England was a 
scene of feverish activity. Around the three 
loading ports there was rapidly assembling 
the greatest assault army in history. This 
was the time when the prodigious equipment 
of the American Army overran the English 
countryside and overwhelmed its inhabi- 
tants. Monstrous bulldozers, giant tanks, 
waddling long-toms, grotesque ducks, ar- 
mored cars, lumbering trucks, slithering 
jeeps, boats on wheels, all these strange in- 
ventions were fighting for the right of way 
on country lanes that had never seen any- 
thing heavier than a bicycle. To the unin- , 
itiated, the scene was one of indescribable j 
confusion. Wags quipped that the Nazis ' 
might have the original blueprints but that 
they couldn't possibly keep up with all the 


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And yet, a few miles to the north, there 
was still peace and quiet. Mailmen made 
their rounds, farmers tended their lands, fac- 
tory workers did their daily stint. The Strat- 
ford season opened with the usual gathering 
of dignified dowagers, high-brow critics, 
one-day trippers, and all-season campers. 
London theaters were jammed. Oxford 
students crammed for exams. Business went 
on as usual. And with al! this, two tremen- 
dous armies were preparing to fight the 
most momentous battle in history. It was 

The ioutH of England wci 

this contrast that made the final weeks so 
unreal. These clattering guns and sleepy 
farms, these roaring planes and quiet rivers, 
these rushing soldiers and leisurely sight- 
seers, these thundering convoys and fragile 
bicycles existed side by side as if to under- 
score that the world would go on, no matter 
what the outcome of the battle. To Third 
Auxers it was like a dream. 

But there was not much time to dream. 
In the ten weeks that were left, Third Aux- 
ers had two jobs to dor they had to get the 

a teen* of fevcriih activity. 

3 i_ 


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special equipment they needed and they had 
to test this equipment on maneuvers. It was 
a task that required all their energy and 

In the pre-Sicily days, the teams had had 
hard going- The warehouses were empty, 
the supply officers uncooperative, and the 
clearing station personnel skeptical. But this 
time it was different. Now the men were 
veterans and they gave their orders with 
knowledge and authority. Under their 
supervision, electricians wired reflectors, 
batteries, and operating lights. Carpenters 
built stock tables, saw-horses, and plaster 
boards. Ordnance mechanics made Mayo 
stands, intravenous poles, and water taps. 
Technicians tested autoclaves, basic sets, and 
medical chests. Nurses sewed laparotomy 
sheets, glove containers, and muslin wrap- 
pers. Buck privates pitched tents, strung 
wire, and fired stoves. Some equipment such 
as anesthesia machines and suction machines, 
was obtained only at the last minute. Other 
equipment, such as intestinal sutures, Levin 
tubes, and bronchoscopic sets, was never ob- 
tained at all. But on the whole, an admirable 
job was done. 

Next, the teams helped in making up the 
loading schedules. With only three trucks 
available for each clearing station, all items 
had to be carefully evaluated for priority. 
Chests were packed and repacked, trucks 
were loaded and unloaded, tents were pitched 
and struck until the men could go through 
their paces in the dark. This was the real 
thing. Morale soared. 

The teams with the airborne divisions 
were especially busy. This was the first time 
that surgical teams would be landed by 
glider. Everything had to be worked out 
to the last detail. After many trials, it be- 
came evident that all the surgical equipment 
had to be concentrated in a 54-ton trailer. 
This was packed with basic Instrument sets, 
anesthesia supplies, splints, litters, plasma, 

plaster, dressings, and miscellaneous articles. 
Key-equipment had to be distributed over 

several carriers because some would almost 
certainly be lost in landing. To guard against 
total loss, each enlisted man was given a 
canvas kit containing sterile instruments, 
towels, bandages, tourniquets, morphine 
syrettes, and similar small items. Parachute 
bundles were made up with replenishments. 
Only with many precautions could one be 
certain that major surgery would indeed be 
possible from the very beginning. 

The next thing was the maneuvers, As 
early as Christmas 1943, a few teams had 
been sent on bivouacs with the 29th Divi- 
sion, but not until the spring of 1944 was 

Captain Charles Van Gorder demonstrate* what the 
well-dreffcd airborne surgeon wears on an invasion. 


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it possible to have large-scale, realistic re- 
hearsals. Whole divisions were taken out to 
sea and sent ashore against an imaginary 
enemy, Slap.ton Sands became the scene of 
unwonted activity. 

The maneuvers were known by such fas- 
cinating names as DUCK, BEAVER, and 
TIGER, but they were not at all fascinating. 
Third Auxers agreed that, except for the 
absence of real danger, these maneuvers were 
more exhausting, more testing, and more 
painful than the real thing. Here is a con- 
densed version of Major Campbell's trek to 
Wollcombe Beach. 

"We left Torquay on open trucks in a 
driving rain. Of course it was midnight. 
In the Army you always move at midnight. 
We tried to protect ourselves with our rain- 
coats and with the tarpaulins but it was 
futile. Nothing keeps rain out of an open 

From Torquay to the Bristol Channel is 
only about a hundred miles. Just a nice jog 
when you are out joy riding. But that open 
truck took five hours over it. Early in the 
morning, before the sun had even made a 
dent in the grayness, we got out, cold, wet, 
and numb. Thank goodness we're through 
with that, we thought and looked around 
hopefully for a place to warm up. Our 
place was a nice, cozy duck, and it wasn't 
warm. We piled in. 

A duck is a great invention but the nov- 
elty of riding in one soon wears off. TheyVe 
not made for comfort. When the water is 
the least bit rough, you get a constant spray. 
With us it didn't make much difference 
because we were wet already. There was a 
brisk southwester blowing and the sea got 
rougher the farther we got out. After we 
fed the fish with our breakfast of biscuits 

and cheese, we turned around and came right 
back to the same spot we started from, Now 
for a good hot breakfast, we thought. Our 
CO. had other plans. 'Get up that hill and 
make it snappy!' he hollered. 

The hill was long and sandy and it got 
pretty steep towards the end. When we got 
to the top we were bushed. 'Pitch tents, 1 
came the order. 'And make it snappy,' 
Have you ever tried to pitch a tent when you 
are sick to your stomach, wet to the bone, 
panting for breath, and shaking with exer- 
tion? Brother, it's no fun. 

And then, after all that mad dash, we just 
sat there for three days. Yes sir, we just sat 
there and lived on chocolate bars and stale 
cheese. Not so much as a cup of coffee. 
From that little trip I learned just one thing: 
if you survive one maneuver, you're good 
for ten battles/' 

Third Auxers did go through a real battle 
on one of these maneuvers. And a very one- 
sided battle it was. Captain Horvitz has 
given a graphic account of it. 

"It was on the morning of 27 April 1944 
that we left Plymouth Harbor. The code 
name for the maneuver was TIGER, It was 
a Thursday morning. The sun was warm 
and bright and was reflected like myriads of 
dancing diamonds from the water of the 
Channel. It was a peaceful Channel. We 
were all set for a pleasure cruise. 

We had embarked a couple of days before 
and had waited in the harbor for the maneu- 
ver to begin. The actual maneuver was to 
take place at Slapton Sands, a number of 
miles farther up the South Coast of England. 
It was practice invasion. Dress rehearsal for 
D Day. According to the plan we were 
supposed to leave for the invasion coast on 


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that morning, but not to land on the beach 
until the morning of the following day. 

Our own convoy consisted of seven LST's, 
all loaded to the gills with implements and 
personnel for invasion. Six hundred men, 
approximately, in addition to the crew. We, 
that is Company B of the 261st Medical 
Battalion and its attached two surgical 
teams, were on LST #511, the third from 
the end in the line of seven as we left Ply- 
mouth. As we steamed out, the routine 
General Quarters alarm was sounded. It 
means a call to battle stations. Everyone 
proceeds at once to the position or job he 
is to occupy in case of battle. It's a rather 
frightening sound — loud enough to wake 
the dead. Everyone remains at his station 
until the signal is given that General Quar- 
ters is over. Our team was to take its station 
in the ward room. That is the small club 
and dining room for the officers. It was 
located in the mid portion of the ship — 
upper deck level. It all being practice, we 
just went there when the General Quarters 
alarm sounded and remained there until it 
was over. 

It was a beautiful morning. The seven 
ships made an impressive sight outlined 
against the clear sky. One of the ship's en- 
signs told me we were scheduled to pass by 
Slapton Sands sometime during the middle 
of the afternoon, but that we would con- 
tinue on by, moving slowly along the Chan- 
nel, turn around during the night, and come 
on in to land on the beach at eight the next 
morning, I asked him if we were to have 
any protection now that we were moving 
farther out into the Channel, ^There's sup- 
posed to be a corvette somewhere/ he said. 
It was around three o'clock in the after- 
noon when we passed Slapton Sands. We 
could make out some of the activity going 
on around the beach. The first boats were 
supposed to have landed and discharged their 
personnel and materiel at eight o'clock that 
morning. We could hear some guns. Every- 

thing was proceeding according to plan. We 
continued on, moving farther out into the 
Channel. The coast jutted outward and 
we lost sight of the beach, 

Maurice Schneider and I decided to turn 
in about midnight. The majors had their 
quarters on deck level along with the Naval 
officers. The rest of us slept in bunks in a 
compartment in the forward part of the ship 
— the first level below deck. The enlisted 
men had to sleep anywhere they could make 
themselves reasonably comfortable. 

It was exactly 2:00 A.M. when General 
Quarters alarm went off. We, thinking it 
was but practice, were hesitant to get 
dressed. But that was all decided when one 
of the crew came rushing through, closing 
off the steel water-tight compartment doors. 
'This is it, boys/ he said. 'Ship torpedoed 
behind us.' We dressed, put on our life belts 
and helmets, and ran up on deck, intending 
to go on to the ward room. As we came out 
on deck, we saw a large orange moon hang- 
ing very low on the horizon. It looked as 
though it was just about to fall into the 
water. It was cool, and we were shivering a 
little; maybe it wasn't entirely the cold. 
What attracted our attention almost im- 
mediately was a large fire burning out in 
the Channel about a mile behind us. It was 
obviously the last LST in our convoy — 
burning and going down. U-boats or E- 
boats? We didn't know that minute. 

There was only one LST behind us now. 
We could make out its outlines readily in 
the light of the moon. It was coming on 
about a hundred yards behind us. Suddenly 
there was a terrific explosion. It had a dull 
sound, as though a great heavy mass had 
fallen onto a heavily carpeted floor. The 
LST right behind us burst into a great mass 
of flame all at once. The torpedo must 
have struck her in the powder magazine be- 
cause she seemed to have disintegrated with 
that one burst. Things began to happen on 
our own ship. It wasn't more than a minute 


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and all hell seemed to break loose all around 
me. Colored flashes of light. For a stunned 
second I didn't realize what they were. But 
then I knew. Tracer bullets. The yellow 
and purple ones were coming out of che 
water from the German E-boats, The pink 
ones were going into the water from our 
own anti-aircraft guns. 

There was a lot of shouting and confusion 
on deck. If I knew then what I have learned 
since, I would have fallen flat on my stomach 
and stayed there, but I didn't. I ducked my 
head and ran, and after what seemed an age 
finally reached the middle portion of the 
ship t found a doorway, and dashed in. I 
decided Yd better get to the ward room* As 
I came down the narrow corridor toward 
the ward room, a soldier came running 
toward me, holding his hands over his belly. 
Tve been hit/ he cried. He fell down at 
my feet. I looked at his clothing and they 
appeared to be undamaged. I thought at first 
that maybe he was hysterical. But I opened 
his shirt. There was an abdominal wound. 
The fragment had gone in, I had some sol- 
diers carry him into the ward room. Now 
that I had something to do, I felt better. 
Casualties began to be brought in. We ad- 
ministered first aid and treated shock. There 
was nothing else that we could do at the 

While we worked, the shooting on our 
boat stopped. It hadn't lasted very long — 
maybe a few minutes. But the show wasn't 
over. The E-boats sent a torpedo into the 
LST directly in front of us. Then some more 
shooting. The convoy was now broken up. 
It was every ship for itself. We headed for 
nearest land, which was twenty miles away. 
We couldn't send for help because there was 
radio silence. To have used the radio would 
have meant giving away our position as well 
as that of the boats which still remained 
afloat, f found out later that the captain 
of our ship had no chart, no idea of the mine- 
fields that had been laid down bv the British. 

Even if he had been able to call for help, it 
could never get to us in time. The corvette 
that was supposed to be our protection we 
never saw. We learned later it had been 

We sat and waited for the torpedo we 
knew would come. Our work was done. 
There was nothing to do but wait. But the 
torpedo never came. The only way we 
could figure it was that they had run out 
of torpedoes. Nothing else was there to 
stop them. 

At about six o'clock in the morning in 
the gray mist we were able to make out land. 
Columbus himself couldn*t have been hap- 
pier at the sight of land than we were that 
morning. An hour later, we were anchored 
in the little harbor of Weymouth. Three 
other LST's showed up. Four of us left out 
of seven. (The two behind us had been sunk, 
the one in front hit but remained afloat and 
later pulled in.) 

We unloaded our casualties — 19 on our 
LST, These included the captain, who had 
been hit in the leg while standing on the 
bridge, the executive officer, who lost his 
right eye, the radioman, who was hit in the 
arm and in the scrotum; he lost one testicle* 
Fortunately no one on our ship was killed. 
Ralph Coffey went along with those evac- 
uated to the nearest hospital — the British 
Naval Hospital at Weymouth. The rest of 
us remained on board. 

Shortly before noon we got under way 
again. Genera! Quarters alarm was sounded 
as we were leaving the harbor. I knew it 
was routine, yet it evoked similar emotions 
to those which I had felt that previous night. 
It was as though a conditioned reflex had 
suddenly taken possession of me. This time, 
as we came out of the harbor, we were 
joined by two British destroyers. It was 
like closing the barn door after the horse 
is gone. But we were very happy to have 


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Almost 1,200 lives were lost in that ma- 
neuver. We felt that it had been a rather ex- 
pensive session. We landed at Slapton Sands 
at eight o'clock that evening, just twelve 
hours behind schedule. The earth fe!t good 
under our feet. 

Our clearing station was set up exactly as 
it was going to be set up on the invasion 
beach, a month later, I pitched my pup 
tent for the first time- I fell asleep right 
away but was awakened by an air raid dur- 
ing the middle of the night. A German 
plane was shot down just a short distance 
from our field. As it fell, it sounded as 
though it was coming right down on my 
little tent. But that's the way they always 

Saturday and Sunday were beautiful days 
and we relaxed in the sun. On Monday 1 
May we packed up and drove back to our 
camp at Truro. The maneuver was over. 
We all got drunk that night," 

Besides the men on the TIGER exercise, 
one other Third Auxer came close to losing 
his life on maneuvers. This was Torp. Torp 
had asked for his assignment to the Third 
Aux "so that he could devote himself to 
professional work." It was on the DUCK 
maneuver that Torp met his Waterloo. 

Troops were debarking from LCT's into 
LCI's. The trick was to slide down a rope 
ladder and make a neat contact with the 
bobbing, slippery surface below. In calm 
weather, this was easy. In rough weather, 
when both vessels were rocked in uneven 
rhythm, it was decidedly tricky. When 
Torp started down, he knew that he was 
in for trouble. In the first place, he was not 
used to violent exertions and in the second 
place, his physical proportions made it dif- 
ficult for him to see what was going on down 
below. Halfway down he hesitated- Should 
he try to reach that treacherous void or 

should he clamber back towards the safety 
of the mother vessel? In this extremity he 
had an open mind. 

It so happened that on the other side of 
the ship a similar debarkation was taking 
place. A loud-mouthed boatswain with a 
megaphone was bellowing to one of his men: 
"Let go, you fathead!" His voice carried 
to all parts of the ship. To Torp it was the 
inspiration he had been waiting for. With- 
out a further look he released his hold and 
obeyed the law of gravity, a most natural 
thing to do for a man of his dimensions. 

At this moment the two vessels were sep- 
arated about six feet and into this chasm 
Torp disappeared. Sailors sprung into ac- 
tion. They lowered ropes, threw out life 
belts, kept the ships from grinding together. 
A few minutes later Torp was standing on 
the deck of the LCI, surrounded by his half- 
snickering, half-solicitous team mates. lt A 
fine outfit this is. Here I expect to do pro- 
fessional work and look how I wind up. 
I quit!" 

Thus, Third Auxers had their problems, 
large and small. And yet, with all the tumult 
and confusion, there was one man who had 
the enthusiasm to win the girl of his choice. 
Captain Joe met Kay at a dance in Broms- 
grove just before he shipped off to the stag- 
ing area. It was a whirlwind courtship. Joe 
settled the matter with his usual vim and 
vigor. He would marry Kay, come hell or 
high water. 

Although over fifty thousand Americans 
acquired English wives overseas, the course 
of true love in those days was not a smooth 
one. With an eye on the many natural ob- 
stacles, Army authorities had set up an elab- 
orate cooling-oflf process. The request for 
permission had to be passed up the line of 
command to its ultimate pinnacle, a journey 
of many weeks. Then, if the decision was 
favorable, the applicants had to wait sixty 
days before they could apply for a license. 
Joe knew that he had a mighty hurdle to 


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overcome. He put his papers in, said a 
prayer, and waited. 

Three weeks went by. Four weeks went 
by. Five weeks went by. Joe was now in 
the staging area with one foot practically 
in the water. Still no answer. He decided 
to investigate. At Medical Battalion Head- 
quarters nobody even remembered having 
seen Joe's letter. Disgusted, Joe was on his 
way out the door when a sergeant spoke up, 

"Wait a minute, Captain, Maybe it's in 
that pile over there," 

The sergeant pointed to a stack of papers 
that had been gathering dust for weeks. 
Without any thought of success, Joe started 
leafing through. Suddenly he jumped a foot. 
There it was! His request! And there was 
the answer: "Permission granted. Applicants 
must wait for sixty days from date of last 

This was bad news. With the invasion 
only a month away, Joe was sunk. Nobody 
had authority to waive the sixty day wait- 
ing period except Army Headquarters. A 
second letter would surely bog down. So 
Joe decided to rewrite his request and hand- 
carry it. This meant that he had to gather 
all the intermediate signatures himself. First, 
the unit chaplain. Next, the commanding 
officer of the clearing company. Next, the 
commanding officer of the medical bat- 
talion. Next, the commanding general of 
the engineers special brigade. Finally, Army 
Headquarters. With so much practice, Joe 
[earned to present his story in truly heart- 
rending fashion. Wherever he went he man- 
aged to get at least an encouraging hand 
shake and a sympathetic nod. Then he got 
to the end of the trail. The office of the 
Adjutant General, 

There he struck the snag. In his ignorance 
that Army Headquarters considered the in- 
vasion still a top secret, Joe blurted out that 
he wanted to get married "before the in- 

"What invasion?" inquired the colonel 

"Why, the invasion of Europe of course." 

"Did you tell anyone that you were go- 
ing on an invasion, Captain?" asked the 
Colonel, gradually warming up to such a 
dangerous possibility, 

"Why . , . , no sir, not in so many words," 
said Joe, completely floored by this unex- 
pected twist in the conversation. 

"Captain, as far as you and your friends 
are concerned, you are here for a change and 
a rest. Now, go away. Don't bother me 
any more." 

Then, as Joe was already in the door, the 
stern man suddenly relented, 

"You might see the Chaplain though." 

The Army Chaplain was a man whose re- 
ligion was measured strictly in terms of di- 
rectives. But there was something in Joe's 
urgent pleading that made him soften. 

"I want to see this girl. If she is all you 
say, we will give you permission." 

Joe was elated. He dashed out the door 
for the nearest telephone booth. 

"Get on the train right away, dear. You've 
got to be here by tomorrow morning. Better 
get yourself a ring. I won't have time to buy 



The south coast of England was a re- 
stricted area. No civilians could get in or 
out, except by special pass. Joe's bride-to- 
be had no pass but she had plenty of pluck. 
She talked her way past the police and she 
met Joe at the appointed hour. The Chap- 
lain was impressed. He not only gave the 
couple his blessing but he even made the 
adjutant sign the papers right away. At 
last, things were beginning to move, 

Flushed with their success, the couple now 
went to Torquay, There was no time to lose. 
Joe's Medical Battalion had been alerted and 
would be bottled up tight in a (g^ t days. 
Telegrams went out, Kay's parents and 


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friends were to be in Torquay the next day. 
Now for a priest. That was easy. The priest 
listened sympathetically. Yes, he would be 
delighted but did the affiants have their li- 
cense? Joe had been so wrapped up in Army 
regulations that he had forgotten completely 
about the civil procedure. To the county 
clerk's office he went. The clerk was all 
smiles. For the small fee of ten shillings he 
would publish the banns and Joe could pick 
up the license three days later. 

"Three days from now?" said Joe, * r Why, 
that's ridiculous. I'll be with my outfit 

"Sir, I'm sorry but that's the law and I 
have never made an exception in all my 
forty years in office/* 

Stymied by a stubborn county clerk! Who 
was this pipsqueak anyway? Joe would carry 
his cause to the registrar himself. But the 
registrar was adamant. Not even an invasion 
could change English law. 

Things looked black. Another precious 
day had passed and Joe was no nearer his 
goal. With hanging head and sagging spirits 
he returned to Torquay. 

The next day started badly. Wedding 
guests were beginning to arrive. Kay was 
in a dither. The people at the hotel wanted 
to know what time the wedding would take 
place. Joe felt sick. He wanted to get away 
from it all. Mumbling some feeble excuse, 
he put on his coat and wandered back to 
Battalion Headquarters. Here, things were 
even worse. Orders had arrived. The office 
was being packed up. Husky GI*s were tug- 
ging at the desks, the tables, the safe. Joe 
sat down. He lit a cigarette and cursed all 
the county officials in the world. 

Suddenly he heard a familiar voice. It was 
the adjutant, the same adjutant who had 
let Joe's letter gather dust. 

"Well, if it isn't Captain Joe! How are 
you, doc?" 

Joe could have killed the fellow but he 
restrained himself and said something about 
the weather. 

"And what became of your request, Cap- 
tain? Did it ever come through?" 

"Blast it all," said Joe. "A fellow might 
as well try flying to the moon. I've seen 
everybody from a two-bit county clerk to 
the general and no luck. Think I'll go hang 

"Wait a minute, Captain. The Brigade 
Chaplain is a friend of mine. He knows a 
lot of people. Til call him right away. 3 ' 

Joe accepted the suggestion with reserva- 
tion. A few minutes later the adjutant 
came back. 

"The chaplain wants to see you right 
away, Captain. He is at Headquarters." 

The chaplain listened to Joe as if he were 
listening to his own son. 

"We've got to see you through, Captain. 
I know the monsignor at Eppington. Let*s 
go and see him." 

The monsignor listened sympathetically 
but he confessed that he was powerless. No 
one had authority to tamper with the law 
of His Majesty's government. There fol- 
lowed a long list of reasons but Joe wasn't 
even listening. He was just thinking about 
all the people at Torquay who were waiting 
for the wedding. Then the chaplain spoke 

"Father, would you have any objection 
if we saw the bishop about this?" 

"Impossible, The bishop has just had a 
serious operation. He is in the hospital at 
Tavistock. Nobody is allowed to see him." 

The chaplain and Joe went outside. 

"We're going to Tavistock," said the 

A: Tavistock, the bishop was recovering 
from nothing more serious than a tooth ex- 
traction and he listened closely to the two 
American officers. 


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"And is there nothing that can be done 
for this impetuous officer and his charming 
fiancee?" was the chaplain's closing question. 

"Well now, let me see. We had a case 
here during the last war. I believe there is 
a rule that this provision may be waived for 
members of the Forces, It's never come up 
before, but I see no reason why we could 
not apply the same rule to American serv- 
icemen. Wait a minute," 

The bishop picked up a phone, A long 
conversation ensued. Then came the verdict : 
Joe could get his license right away. The 
bishop called the monsignor. The monsignor 
called the priest. The priest called the county 
clerk. The county clerk opened his office. 
The guests were notified. The license was is- 
sued. The priest came down. Joe and Kay 
were married. They had a one-day honey- 
moon and have lived happily ever after. 

The wedding party. Hurwili, Hayman, Smaxal, bridal couple, Barta, Nerx, Sheldon, Campbell, 

Coffin, No to. 


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6 June 1944 


' » Sea routes 

■-* * AfR ROUTES 


10 tO BO 4 a o 

miles" - 





Operation OVERLORD 

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The story of the Normandy invasion has 
been told so many times that it seems almost 
supererogatory to repeat it here* And yet, 
in order to make the role of the Third Aux 
clear, it is necessary to review at least the 
main features. 

The entire operation had been planned in 
broad outline at the Quebec Conference in 
August 1943, The section of the French 
coast that was to be brought under attack 
stretched from the estuary of the Vire to 
that of the Orne. The American sector lay 
directly east of the Vire and was called 
Omaha Beach. On his arrival in England 
General Eisenhower decided that an addi- 
tional beachhead was needed, one that gave 
a more direct access to Cherbourg, He se- 
lected a beach sector northwest of the Vire 
and gave it the name of Utah. The troops 
at Omaha were to engage the enemy while 
the troops at Utah made a dash for Cher- 
bourg. The two separate beachheads were 
then rapidly to be consolidated. 

Utah was the target of Force "U." The 
main elements of this force were the 4th 
Infantry Division and one combat team of 
the 90th Infantry Division, Special tank 
battalions and field artillery battalions would 
be in close support. The 1st Engineers Spe- 
cial Brigade would clear the beach of ob- 
stacles. The 82nd Airborne and the 101st 
Airborne Division would be dropped in the 
rear to seize the beach exits and prepare the 

ground to the west. Over-all command was 
in the hands of VII Corps, 

Omaha Beach was the target of Force 
"O," The main elements were the 1st In- 
fantry Division and one combat team of the 
29th Infantry Division, Support forces 
again included special tank battalions and 
armored field artillery battalions as well as 
a battalion of Rangers. Beach clearing 
would be in the hands of the 5th and 6th 
Engineers Special Brigades, Follow-up 
Force "B" consisting of the 29th Infantry 
Division plus engineer and artillery units 
would follow in about six hours. Over-all 
command was in the hands of V Corps, 

The entire operation went by the name 
of OVERLORD, The American part was 
called NEPTUNE. 


The Utah sector was approximately five 
thousand yards long. At this point the beach 
was smooth with a gradual rise to a sea wall 
averaging six feet in height. In some places 
sand was piled against this wall to form a 
sort of natural ramp. Behind the wall, sand 
dunes stretched to a low-lying swamp that 
had been flooded by the Germans. This inun- 
dated area was one to two miles wide and 
was crossed by a number of causeways. The 
western exits of these causeways were to be 
seized by the airborne divisions. 


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The German defenses consisted of ob- 
stacles in the water and strong points on the 
beach. The strong points were made up of 
pill boxes, Tobruk pits, firing dugouts, and 
underground shelters, interconnected by 
trenches and protected by mines and ditches. 
These defenses were much fewer than on 
Omaha because the enemy relied on the in- 
undations as a natural obstacle. About two 
miles inland were several batteries of heavy 
and medium artillery. 


The Omaha sector was about seven thou- 
sand yards long. It was made up of a tidal 
flat averaging three hundreds yards in width 
and merging into a bank of coarse gravel 
To the east this gravel merged with a low 
sand-embankment or dune line. To the west 
the gravel abutted on a sea wall varying 
from four to twelve feet in height. Between 
the sea wall and the bluff was a level shelf 
of sand. This measured as much as two 
hundred yards in the center but narrowed at 
either end. The bluffs rose sharply to a 
height of one hundred and fifty feet and 
provided a perfect defense line. Four small 
wooded valleys or draws ran inland at right 
angles. Each draw contained a road, mostly 
simple cart tracks. Beyond the dunes the 
country quickly became intersected with 
numerous hedgerows but otherwise offered 
few natural obstacles. The sector was limited 
both cast and west by high cliffs. Of these 
cliffs the greatest threat was at Pointe du 
Hoe, about four miles west of Omaha. It 
was known that the Germans had heavy ar- 
tillery here. 

The assault plan divided Omaha into two 
subsectors. The eastern subsector consisted 
of Dog Green, Dog White, Dog Red, and 
Easy Green. The western subsector con- 
sisted of Easy Red, Pox Green, and Fox Red, 
The attacking force consisted of the 16th 

Regimental Combat Team for the eastern 
subsector and the 1 1 6ch Regimental Com- 
bat Team for the western subsector. The 
1 8th RCT and the HJth RCT would land 
in support. These teams were heavily rein- 
forced, A force of Rangers was to assault 
the cliffs at Pointe du Hoe. 

The landing sequence of the assault troops 
was as follows. After an intense aerial and 
naval bombardment, two companies of am- 
phibious tanks would swim ashore and take 
up firing positions at the water's edge. Their 
task was to put the remaining strong points 
out of commission and give covering fire 
for the infantry. 

At H plus one minute, four infantry com- 
panies would touch down. This primary 
assault force was to cross the tidal flat im- 
mediately and concentrate on the strong 
points. While this was going on, a special 
engineer task force would come in at H plus 
five minutes. These troops were to demolish 
the beach obstacles and clear the mine fields. 

Beginning at H plus thirty minutes, a 
second and larger group of assault infantry 
would come in, together with advance ele- 
ments of the Engineers Special Brigade. 
These engineers were to stay on the beach 
while the infantry moved inland. 

The first artillery would come in between 
H plus 90 and H plus 120 minutes. With 
the assault waves now firmly entrenched on 
the bluffs and with at least one of the beach 
exits cleared, the next wave was timed for H 
plus three hours and was to bring heavy 
vehicles: tanks, cranes, dozers, halftracks, 
and trucks of all types. They would arrive 
on rhino-ferries. All strong points on the 
beach were to be neutralized by H plus 3 

Omaha was much better defended than 
Utah. Twelve strong points were located 
along the top of the bluff, flanking the 
draws. Each strong point was sited for both 
grazing and plunging fire. In addition there 


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were no less than 3 5 pill boxes, 18 anti-tank 
guns, 40 rocket pits, and well over 60 ar- 
tillery pieces, mainly of 75 and 88 mm cali- 
ber. Pointe du Hoe had a battery of 15 S 
mm guns which could cover both Omaha 
and Utah. Beyond this shell, Omaha had 
little defense in depth, There were a few 
mine fields but no elaborate fortifications. 
On the morning of D Day, Omaha was 
manned by a battalion of German troops but 
these were quickly reinforced by other ele- 
ments of the 3 52nd Division. 

Let us now see how the medical plans had 
been fitted into this. 

The Seaborne Elements 

In the order of their arrival on the beach, 
the medical units were as follows: 

1. The regimental medical detachments. 
These would be landed with the assault 
units, starting at H Hour. (Each in- 
fantry regiment has a medjcal detach- 
ment consisting of three battalion 
medical sections which go wherever 
the fighting soldiers go.) These men 
would move inland with the attacking 
forces and would do no more than 
help with the collection of the casual- 
ties on the beach. 

2. The Naval beach medical sections. 
These were small parties of Navy per- 
sonnel that would be landed immed- 
iately following the battalion medical 
sections. They were to continue the 
work of collecting the casualties and 
of giving first aid. They would also 
evacuate the casualties seaward. 

3 . The beach clearing stations. These 
were the clearing stations operated by 
the medical battalions of the engineers 
special brigades and it was to these 
stations that the Third Aux teams were 
attached. Their landing time would 

be approximately H plus 4. The clear- 
ing stations would be set up just be- 
yond the beach and they would func- 
tion as all-purpose hospitals until the 
arrival of the field hospitals. It is to 
be noted that these beach clearing sta- 
tions would precede the division clear- 
ing stations. 

4, The division clearing stations. These 
would be landed later on D Dav and 
would not function on the beach 
proper. They would follow the divi- 
sions inland, 

J, The field hospitals. These would be 
landed late on D Day or on D plus 1/ 
The field hospitals would relieve the 
beach clearing stations of some of their 
burdens. The teams would be shifted 
to the field hospitals as soon as possible, 

6. The evacuation hospitals. These were 
to be landed on D plus 4 or D plus 5. 
As soon as they were set up, evacuation 
would revert to its normal pattern: 
casualties would be sorted at the divi- 
sion clearing station, non-transport- 
ables would be sent to the field hos- 
pitals, and transportables to the evac- 
uation hospitals. By D plus 5 there 
would also be ashore Corps and Armv 
medical battalions, medical supply 
dumps, and miscellaneous units. 

An advance Third Aux Headquarters 
would be landed on D plus 1 or D plus 2. 
It would bring the specialist teams and 
twelve reserve teams from the Fourth Aux 
{six for each beach). Colonel Rogers and 
Colonel Crislcr would be with this grouo. 

The Airborne Elements 

The two airborne divisions had made the 
following arrangements. 

The Medical Company of the 101st Air- 


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borne Division was to be landed in three 
echelons ; 

1. A glider-borne echelon at H minus 4. 

2. A sea-borne echelon at H plus 3. 

3. A second glider-borne echelon at H 
plus 12. 

Major CrandaH's team was part of the first 
glider echelon. These men would set up 
station in the Chateau Colombienne at Hies- 
ville and do first-priority surgery from the 

The Medicaf Company of the 82nd Air- 
borne Division was to be landed in two 

1, A glider-borne echelon at H plus 12. 

2. A sea-borne echelon at D plus. 

Major Vhitsitt's team was with the glider 
echelon. As an after-thought the Com- 
manding General of the Division decided 
that ac least one Third Auxer should accom- 
pany the Division Staff in the assault wave 
at H minus 4. This was a suicide mission 
and Major Whitsitt assumed it himself. He 
knew that he would be without the equip- 
ment of the clearing station and he convert- 
ed himself into a one-man field hospital. 
When it was time to emplane, he was cov- 
ered from head to foot with a prodigious 
assortment of bags, packets, pouches, rolls, 
and bottles, weighing well over sixty pounds. 
The regular clearing station would set up 
in tents near Fauville, just south of Ste. Mere 

The selection of D Day was not a matter 
of chance. It was essential that it came dur- 
ing a period when the days were long for 
greatest air cover, when the moon was full 
for better night landings, and when the tides 
were strong for easier beaching. Originally, 
the day was fixed for 5 June. At the con- 
ference on the morning of 4 June the 
weather forecast was gloomy indeed. There 
were to be low clouds, high winds, and 

choppy seas. Gun fire would be inaccurate, 
air support impractical, and boat landings 
risky. Genera! Eisenhower decided to hold 
off. At half past three the next morning, 
another conference was held. Clouds were 
still low, winds were still high, and seas were 
still choppy but a further postponement 
would have put the entire invasion ofT sev- 
eral weeks. General Eisenhower delivered his 
classic order: "Let *er rip.*' 

The armada got under way. Hundreds of 
ships cast loose from their anchorage. Thou- 
sands of soldiers seized their weapons. Mil* 
lions of people said their prayers. General 
Eisenhower spoke for them, 

"Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied 
Expeditionary Force! 

You are about to embark upon the Great 
Crusade toward which we have striven these 
many months. The eyes of the world are 
upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty- 
loving people everywhere march with you. 
In company with our brave Allies and 
brothers-in-arms on other fronts, you will 
bring about the destruction of the German 
war machine, the elimination of Nazi ty- 
ranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, 
and security for ourselves in a free world. 

Your task will not be an easy one. Your 
enemy is well trained, well equipped, and 
battle-hardened. He will fight savagely. 

But this is the year 1944! Much has hap- 
pened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. 
The United Nations have inflicted upon the 
Germans great defeats, in open battle, man- 
to-man. Our air offensive has seriously re- 
duced their strength in the air and their 
capacity to wage war on the ground. Our 
Home Fronts have given us an overwhelm- 
ing superiority in weapons and munitions of 
war, and placed at our disposal great reserves 
of trained fighting men. The tide has 
turned! The free men of the world are 
marching together to Victory! 


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I have confidence in your courage, devo- 
tion to duty, and skill in battle. We will 
accept nothing less than full Victory! 

Good Luck! And let us all beseech the 
blessing of Almighty God upon this great 
and noble undertaking!" 

D Day is an indelible memory to all those 
who took part in it. In the short space of 
twelve hours, several hundred Third Auxers 
landed on the strongly fortified beaches. 
Some were able to go into action immediate- 

ly and others were pinned down for days. 
Some were wounded seriously and others 
were only scratched. But all were heroes 
and the printed word cannot do them 

On D Day things were happening so fast 
in so many different places that it is difficult 
to follow rhem without an outline. The 
following table lists the elements of the 
Group approximately in the order of their 
arrival. It provides the framework for the 

'You art about to embark on tho Graot Grusarf*. 

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TYtfjw TVtfm 


?♦ leader 


How Carried 

Time of 


Pi ace of Arrival 


. Whitsitt (minus team) 



D Day 

H— V/t 

Bios villi' 





D Day 

H— 3 



Rest of team 




D Day 






Co "C" 

LCI jm 

D Day 


Tare Green 



Co X M 

LCI £513 

D Day 


Tare Green 



Co "A" 

LCI ]f2J0 

D Day 


Uncle Red 



Co "A" 

LCI $250 

D Day 


Uncle Red 


Brett el 

Co "B" 




Tare Green 



Co "B" 





Tare Green 



Serbs t 


"Empire Anvil" 

D Day 

H + J 

Easy Green 




"Empire Anvil" 

D Day 


Dog Red 




"Empire Anvil" 

D Day 


Dbg Red 


Find lay 


"Empire Anvil" 

D Day 


Dog Red 




"Dorothea DJx H 

D Day 


Easy Red 




"Dorothea Dix" 

D Day 

H + 7 

Easy Red 




"Dorothea Dix" 

D Day 


Easy Red 




"Dorothea Dix" 


D Day 


Easy Red 





LST um 



Easy Green 




LST S3 J 1 



Easy Green 




LST #3 SI 



Easy Green 




LST #35 1 



Dog White 

Lodmelt, Crisler 

Det "A" 





Haynes, Bang 

Det "A" 





6 Fourth Aux teams 

Det "A" 

"Naushon* r 




Longatre, Matson 

Det "B" 

"Lady Connaught" 




6 Fourth Aux teams 

Det "B" 

"Lady Connaught" 






''Princess Maude" 

D + 4 





"Princess Maude" 






"Princess Maude" 





"Empire Lance" 




& 25* Maloney B: Soderstroro 

""Empire Lance" 




"Empire Lance" 



Motor Train 

"Ch. D, Poscon" 

D + 22 





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The team roster for Normandy follows. 
When a man's rank is not stated, it is be- 
cause this information was no longer ob- 
tainable at the time the roster was recon- 
structed. The original copy is lost. 

Team No. 1: Major Allen M. Boyden, 
Capt Thomas J, Floyd, Capt Arthur F. 
Jones, Capt Gordon A, Dodds, T-4 Chester 
Houston, T-5 William F. Thomas, Pvt John 
J. Levy, T-5 William M. Rogers, 

Team No, 2\ Major Howard W, Brettcll, 
Capt Ralph A, Dorner, Capt John A. Espo- 
sito, Capt Frederick Hadden, T-S Charles 
A. Bonin, T-J Edward M. Pawlowicz, T-J 
James A. Bowman, T-4 Aurelio M. DeLeon. 

Team No. 3 : Major Frank Wood, Capt 
John A. Growdon, Capt Abraham Horvitz, 
Capt Maurice Schneider, T-4 Clarence C 
Moody, T-4 J. D. Dillard, T-J Melvin J, 
Cole, Pfc Aldor R. Romillard. 

Team No, 4: Major Robert M, Coffey, 
Capt Sumner W, Brown, Capt William Sel- 
kirk, Capt Norman Kornficld, T-5 Lloyd L. 
Rraus, T-5 William L, jansa, Pfc John C 
Fritzges, John T. Kelly. 

Team No. S ; Major Walter W. King, 
Major Herbert S. Raines, Capt Nathan C. 
Plimpton, Capt Harold Gartner, T-4 Tom- 
mie H. Hicks, T-5 Carl W. Hamilton, T-5 
Thomas J. GiaguzzJ, Pfc Julius Polyniak. 

Team No, 6: Major Glenn W. Zeiders, 
Capt Ivan Kempner, Capt Drake Pritchett, 
Capt Max H. Parrott, T-5 Asa Thomas, T-5 
Wilmer Meidinger, Pvt Charles W. Castro, 
Pvt Anthony L, Lewandowski. 

Team No. 7: Major Louis W. Stoller, 
Capt William R, Ferraro, Capt Elphege A. 
Beaudreault, Capt Jacob Bernstein, T- 5 
Wayne S, Balcom, T-5 Harry O. Andrews, 
T-4 Sam A. Rosenberg, T-4 Ralph T. Fritz. 

Team No. 8 : Major John B. Peyton, Capt 
Hollis H. Brainard, Capt Treadwell L. Ire- 
land, Capt Francis X. DiFabio, T-5 John L. 
Myers, T-5 Emery W. Hopkins, T-5 Thom- 
as A. Geurink, Pvt William Faskow. 

Team No. 9: Major Douw S. Meyers, 
Major Duncan A, Cameron, Capt Myer M, 
Dashe, Capt Herman Brown, T-4 Lawrence 

E. Lemleux, T-5 Lionel J. E* Thibault, Pfc 
Nick Maravich, Pfc. Joseph Scuiletti, Jr. 

Team No. 10: Major Reynold E. Church, 
Major John C. McCIintock, Capt George 
A. Friedman, Capt Frank Merlo* T-4 Victor 
Nigro, Pfc Carl L, Heyd, Pvt Dewey Fee, 
Pvt Robert C Emery. 

Team No. 1 1 ; Major Charles A- Serbst, 
Major Evan Tansley, Capt Harry Fisher, 
Capt Eugene F. Galvin* T-4 James F, Mc- 
Donald, T-4 Joseph H. Patille, T-S George 

F. Broerman, Pfc Franklin R. Fisher. 

Team No. 12: Major James M. Higgtn- 
botham, Major Marion E. Black, Capt Her- 
bert Marks, Capt Julius Hersh, T-5 Claris 
W. Dixon, T-5 Edward H. Fitzpatrick, T-5 
Arville E. Shanholtzer, T-5 Jan Prys. 

Team No. 13: Major Darrell A. Camp- 
bell, Capt John P. Sheldon, Cape Edwin G. 
Kirby, Capt Lester W. Netz, T-4 Thomas 
A, Owens, T-5 Donald J, Troy, T-5 Walter 
I. Nelson, T-5 Edward G. Gibson, 

Team No, 14: Major Benjamin R. Reiter, 
Capt Stanley F. Smazal t Capt Rene A. Tor- 
rado, Capt Irving R. Hayman, T-4 Marion 

G. Mitcham, T-4 Svend W. Anderson, T-4 
Wesley E. Robinson, Pfc Guy C. Pcluso. 

Team No. Mr Major Robert M. Sutton, 
Capt Anthony T. Pnvitera, Capt Warren 
C. Hastings, Cape Kenneth J. Chadwelt, T-4 
Nicholas Berkich, T-5 James C. Fish, T-S 
David V. Pike, Pfc, Lawrence H. Janson. 


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Team No. I 6: Major Francis M. Findlay, 
Capt Walter Twarog, Major Christopher 
Stahler, Jr., Capt Sidney Simons, T-4 Rob- 
ert J. Smith, T-S Claude W, Thomas, T-S 
John M Curran, T-5 Clarence C. Merkord* 

Team No. 17: Major Alfred Hurwitz, 
Capt Albert W. Brown, Capt Silas A. Coffin, 
Capt Anthony Noto, T-4 George G. Reedy, 
T-4 Marvin R. Wormington, T-5 James E, 
Battles, Pfc William Konikoff. 

Team No, 1 8 : Major Horace G. Williams, 
Capt Joseph A. Sapienza, Major Chester K. 
Barta, Capt Joseph H. Hillman, T-4 Stuart 
J. Garcia, T-5 Jay W. Barker, Pvt Louis 
Tun, T-5 Limuel D. Walton, 

Team No. 19: Major James J. Whitsitt, 
Capt Michael M. Donovan, Capt Frank J. 
Lavieri, Capt Wentworth L. Osteen, T-5 
Matt A. Rautiola, T-J Daniel Overly, T-S 
Harold J- Meinz, T-4 Lloyd Cooper. 

Team No, 20; Major Albert J. Crandall, 
Capt John S. Rodda, Capt Charles O. Van 
Gorder, Capt Saul Dworkin, T-4 Allen E. 
Ray, T-l Emil K, Natalie, Pvt Francis J. 
Muska, T-J Ernest E, Burgess. 

Team No, 21: Major Philip F. Parting- 
ton, Major Sidney Chipman, Capt Ronald 
W« Adams, Capt Martin R, Mesick, Clifford 
R. Inman, James R. Netherlands James R, 

Team No. 22: Major Clifford L. Graves, 
Major Wilson Weisel, Capt Claude M. War- 
ren, Capt Philip Lief, T-4 Wilbur J. Mc- 
Neeley, T-5 Willie P. Jones, T-5 Joseph B. 
Heida, T-J Sidney P. Lenox. 

Team No. 2i: Major Mark H. Williams, 
Major Robert T, Stoner, Capt Toseph S> 
Tumiel, Capt Roy A. Geider, Pfc George 
G. Guido, T-5 Oneal Gross, T-4 Fred Reich- 
ers, T-4 Cyril Greene, 

Team No. 24: Major Paul K, Maloney, 
Capt William R. Ferraro, Capt Irving H. 
Rosenthal, Capt Louis Wolfe, T-4 Frank F. 
Jebsen, T-4 Wesley E. Robinson, T-4 Ray 
L Kerns, T-S Boyd W, Lehr. 

Team No. 2 5: Major Edwin M. Soder- 
strom, Capt Philip M. Winslow, Capt Roc- 
co Telia, Capt Sidney A. Levine, Justice Hill, 
Harry Hummer, Troy Mitchell, William 

In addition, the Group had two neurosur- 
geons (Major Walter G. Haynes and Captain 
Donald D. Matson), two plastic surgeons 
(Major Jacob J. Longacre and Captain 
George A. Friedman), and two dental sur- 
geons (Major J. Harvey Bang and Captain 
Benjamin G. Bauerle). These men worked 
partly as individuals, partly as teams. 

Major Whitsitt 
It was the mission of the 82nd Airborne 
Division to seize Ste. Mere Eglise, to estab- 
lish bridgeheads across the Merderet, and to 
exploit to the west. The first wave was 
made up of 6, J00 troops which were partly 
dropped by parachute and partly landed by 
glider. A second wave of 2,200 men was 
scheduled for the evening of D Day. The 
first wave left England shortly after mid- 
night* It circled wide around Cherbourg 
and approached Normandy from the west. 

Whitsitt found himself in this first wave. 
He shared a glider with Colonel Eaton, who 
was the Chief of the Division Staffs and 
several aides. There was a partial overcast. 
Sometimes the men could see the waters of 
the English Channel down below, at other 
times they seemed to be completely lost in 
the clouds* 

Whitsitt was on tenterhooks. "I'm an 
awful chump,' 1 he said to himself, ft I should 
be at the base instead of out here with a 
tough bunch of leathernecks. Hell, if I get 


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m a scrape, I can't even defend myself. 
How did I ever get into this?" 

He was not left long with his own recrim- 
inations* The clouds broke and Whitsitt 
could see land very plainly. Suddenly there 
was a clatter on the hull of the glider. It 
sounded like hail on a roof. "What's that?" 
said Whitsitt. Colonel Eaton pointed sig- 
nificantly to three jagged tears in the fabric. 

Srreaks of fire came up from the ground 
in graceful patterns- Whitsitt was fascinat- 
ed. The little balls whizzed past and disap- 
peared in space. They looked like fireworks 
but Whitsitt knew better. These were tracer 
bullets. He clenched his fists. 

The glider was now down to five hundred 
feet. It broke formation. A town loomed 
in the darkness. Then all hell broke loose. 
The Germans were heavily entrenched at 
See. Mere EgKse and they had been warned 
of the approaching flight. Anti-aircraft 

batteries opened up. Little balls of fire 
reached up from a dozen points. Down be- 
low, a road lined with trees stood out in 
the glow of shellbursts. There was the drop 

The green light flashed, the rope parted, 
the craft went into a rapid descent, Whitsitt 
braced himself. He kept his eyes fixed on 
the field ahead, They overshot. The glider 
hit a tree, spun around, and rammed its nose 
in the ground, spilling the men like matches 
out of a box. It was H minus 4j/i. 

Whitsitt was stunned. He had been 
pitched thirty feet. Next to him was Colonel 
Eaton. Whitsitt crawled over. 

"Are you hurt, Colonel?" 

"I don't think so, but my knee sure hurts. 
I can't move it.* 1 

Whitsitt investigated the glider. The pilot 
had been killed and the rest of the occupants 
had scattered. Machine-gun fire raked the 


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field. Whitsitt ducked. In the darkness, 
there was little he could do. 

All around, paratroopers engaged German 
patrols in hand-to-hand combat. The first 
man to give his position away was lost. Whit- 
sitt crawled back to the colonel. A patrol 
advanced across the field. The figures were 
plainly distinguishable against the faint glow 
of approaching morning. They looked like 
Americans to Whitsitt. He wanted to signal 
them so that he could move the colonel to a 
safer spot. Then he heard a voice: "Don- 
nerwetter! Wo sind denn die verdammten 
Amerikaner?" If it had not been for that 
casual remark, Whitsitt would have perished 
on the spot* 

The hours seemed interminable. Colonel 
Eaton was in great pain. Whitsitt gave him 
morphine, Gradually light showed on the 
horizon. The glider seemed to be a total 
wreck. It made a target for a German mor- 
tar crew in the next field. Two shells came 
over. Hastily, Whitsitt dragged his casualty 
to a ditch. Silence settled once again. 

Slowly dawn gave way to morning. Whit- 
sitt lit a cigarette for the colonel. Then 
he saw something that made him rub his eyes 
and look again. A figure was coming down 
the road and a most unmilitary figure at 
that. It was a French boy leading a donkey 
cartl Just as if nothing had happened, this 
boy was on his daily chore of feeding the 
cattle or whatever he was wont to do at six 
o'clock in the morning. Whitsitt did not 
speculate. "Damn it,** he said to Colonel 
Eaton. "If that boy can do it, we can." 
And with that, he raised up and motioned 
the boy to come forward. 

"Bon matin, mon gargon. What about 
the cart?" 

"Mon Dieu! Les Americains!" There fol- 
lowed a torrent of words. 

Whitsitt cut the boy short. The situation 
called for action, not words. He lifted the 
colonel on the cart> took the donkey by the 

reins, and mustered his best French: 
"AllonsP* The little procession moved off. 

They had barely gone a hundred yards 
when the Germans spotted them. Bullets hit 
the cart and the donkey. Whitsitt dived for 
the ditch. The boy started to run. He was 
cut down. Whitsitt gnashed his teeth. "I 
knew I should never have started this," he 
said to himself. 

A German grenade landed at his feet. He 
picked it up and threw it back. His aim 
could not have been more perfect. The ex- 
plosion killed two German soldiers and dis- 
couraged the others from further interfer- 
ence. Miraculously, Colonel Eaton on the 
cart escaped injury. 

Whitsitt remained pinned down for sev- 
eral hours. As nearly as he could figure, 
there was a first-aid post in a house south of 
Turqueville. He realized that he could make 
no progress as long as he tried to transport 
the colonel at the same time. He helped the 
colonel to the ditch. "You better stay here, 
sir. I am going on a reconnaissance." 

Whitsitt moved off. He had learned his 
lesson and he advanced cautiously. There 
were plenty of dead Germans in his path but 
no live ones and he reached Turqueville 
without mishap. A preliminary first-aid 
post had been set up. There were a dozen 
casualties, none of them serious. A dental 
officer was giving first aid. Whitsitt com- 
mandeered a jeep and went in search of the 
colonel. He was lucky. Within half an 
hour, he was back. 

On his return he found the aid post 
swamped. Turqueville was an island of 
American troops and there was sharp fight- 
ing. Quickly, Whitsitt went from room to 
room. Many of the casualties needed im- 
mediate attention. There was no time to be 
lost. He selected the kitchen as an operating 
theater. He improvised a table, boiled his 
instruments, ransacked the bedrooms for 


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linen, and taught the dental officer to give 
ether. Ffom then on he had no rest. 

Towards nightfall small-arms fire came 
closer and closer, A paratrooper reported 
that the woods surrounding Turqueville 
were alive with Germans. So they were. This 
was a sizable body of troops that were re- 
treating towards Ste, Mere Eglise. Trapped* 
they established themselves between Turque- 
ville and Fauville in the very area where 
Whitsitt now found himself. 

As yet there was no contact with the 4th 
Division. Everything depended on whether 
the paratroopers would stand their ground, 

All night long the issue was in doubt, Whit- 
sitt had no time to follow the battle at first 
hand but he received periodic reports while 
he was working at the operating table. A 
corporal assumed the job of special liaison 
agent. Triumphantly, this man would stick 
his head in the door and exclaim from time 
to time: "Major, we just got another one!" 
"Good," Whitsitt would say without stop- 
ping. The Germans were bucking a stone 
wall. In the morning their bodies littered 
the woods. 

But the paratroopers suffered too and the 
facilities of the station were totally inade- 

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Lavitri, Donovan, Qstccn, Whittitt, ihortly btfolC take -off. 


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quate. The V07th Medical Company landed 
in the evening. It too was quickly pinned 
down. For Whitsitt there was no relief until 
the next morning when 4th Division troops 
finally entered Turqueville. Their arrival 
relieved a desperate situation. The house was 
filled with casualties whose only chance of 
survival depended on a rapid evacuation to 
the beach. Colonel Eaton was one of the 
first men taken out. He shook hands with 
Whitsitt. "Major, if it were not for you, 
I'd be a dead duck." 

Still not knowing anything about the rest 
of his team, Whitsitt proceeded to Hicsville 
as soon as the last casualty had left Turque- 
ville. At Hiesville he found Crandall and 
his men up to their ears in work. Immedi- 
ately, Whitsitt pitched in. It was not until 
the next day that he learned where his own 
clearing station was. 

The Rest of Major Whitsiif*s Team 

The body of the 307th Medical Company, 
together with the remainder of Major Whit- 
sitt's team, emplaned in the evening of D 
Day. The men had been carefully briefed. 
Ste, Mere Egtise was in American hands. 
They were to land at Fauville, just south of 
Ste. Mere. Captain Lavieri listened atten- 
tively. This was his birthday and he relished 
the prospects. Had he known that Fauville 
was at this time still in German hands, he 
would have been considerably less enthus- 

The trip across the Channel was unevent- 
ful. The weather was clear and the view 
stretched for miles. It was a panorama such 
as no one had ever seen before, a panorama 
of thousands of ships lying off the Nor- 
mandy coast. Then came the beach itself, 
followed by the inundated area, Lavieri was 
engrossed. Here he was flying over enemy 
territory on D Day and yet there was not 

so much as a puff of smoke to show where 
the battle was. Ste. Mere was easily iden- 
tifiable. The gliders started losing altitude. 
The next moment they were on their own. 

Things happened fast. At an altitude 
of fifty feet Lavieri saw something that 
made him freeze. In the field directly ahead 
two Sherman tanks were burning fiercely! 
He turned to the pilot in a futile effort to 
point out the danger* The man was dead! 
Nothing could prevent the glider from set- 
tling on the tanks. It grazed a clump of 
trees, lost a wing, and came to rest directly 
on top of the tanks. It could not have been 
done more neatly. Flames enveloped the 
wooden structure. The men were trapped. 

The Horsa glider is made of heavy ply- 
wood, so heavy that even a strong man can- 
not break it. Lavieri is not a strong man. 
He stands five foot four and weighs just 
under a hundred and ten pounds. At the 
time of his induction into the Army, he 
had had quite an argument with the exam- 
ing physician. The physician wanted to re- 
ject him but Lavieri pointed out that he was 
an accomplished acrobat and had demon- 
strated his prowess on the spot. The exam- 
iner was impressed, "All right," he said. 
"We'll take you in. But be careful. Don't 
try any stunts." 

Lavieri's stunt came on the evening of 6 
June, The nearness of the flames gave him 
superhuman strength. He crouched low. 
Then he leaped like a battering ram. The 
hull gave way. He shouldered his way 
through. The others followed- It was not 
a moment too soon. 

The Germans were strongly entrenched 
at this point. Where Lavieri landed they 
had several machine guns and an 88. The 
88 had knocked out the tanks. Now the 
machine guns went into action. They were 
set up in a corner of the field, less than fifty 
yards away. How the eight men, led by 
Lavieri, ran the gauntlet will always be 2 


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mystery. Only one of the eight was hit* 

The others reached a ditch, dazed, singed, 
and shaken. 

Even in the ditch the danger was not over. 
As the glider was consumed by fire, a gas 
tank exploded and the flaming liquid show- 
ered the entire area. It was an ordeal by 
fire hut Lavieri lived to tell the tale. 

The other members of the team fared but 
little better. The area was not only honey- 
combed with enemy troops but also dotted 
with vicious stakes. Everywhere it was the 
same story. Gliders were impaled, torn 
asunder, set on fire. The survivors were 
pitched into individual fights for survival 

rather than joined in coordinated action. 
The Medical Company especially fared bad- 
ly. The commanding officer was killed. The 
men were driven to cover. The equipment 
was destroyed. At the end of D plus 1, half 
the personnel was still unaccounted for. 

The pocket at Fauville was not cleaned 
out until the next day. Third Auxers spent 
the night in the ditch. On the morning of 
D plus 1 the men gradually converged on 
Fauville and set up their stations, in spite 
of the great handicaps. Tents went up at 
ten and by noon surgery got under way* 
Overland evacuation was not possible until 
the next day. At noon of D plus 2 Whitsitt 
finally found his way to Fauville* With the 

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Lovkrf't glider goes up in flames. 


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team thus complete, the operating room soon 
functioned at capacity. 

The S2nd Airborne Division was only 
partly successful in its mission. The drop 
suffered badly from scattering, especially 
among the units along the Merderet. Here, 
pathfinders had not been able to mark the 
drop zones adequately because of heavy 
enemy interference. Many of the sticks 
came down in floodlands where the men were 
marooned for days. A bridgehead at La 
Fiere was lost an hour after it had been 
gained. West of the river, the situation was 
extremely critical. The only thing that 
saved the many isolated groups was a signal 
lack of German aggressiveness. Rommel out- 
smarted himself. 

On the other hand, the capture of Ste. 
Mere Eglise took place in a few hours. Para* 
troopers entered the town at H minus 3 and 
had the situation well in hand at H plus 3. 
The town was repeatedly counterattacked 
but the Americans never budged. Ste. Mere 
was the first town to fall into Allied hands. 

Whitsitt's team remained with the 82nd 
Airborne for the rest of the Cherbourg 
campaign* At the end of thirty-six days, 
these Third Auxers were relieved of their 
assignment with the paratroopers and as- 
sumed their normal status in the field hos- 
pitals. They wrote a page in the history of 
airborne medical service and they richly de- 
serve the admiration of their comrades. 

Ste, Mire EgliM, the tint town to full into Allied hondi. 

3 i_ 


Major Crandall's Team 
It was the mission of the 101st Airborne 
Division to seize the beach exits, to establish 
bridgeheads across the Douve, and to ex- 
ploit to the south* The first wave was made 
up of 6,600' parachute and glider troops, 
Immediately following this wave a flight 
with Jl gliders took to the air. They car- 
ried command personnel, anti-tank weapons, 
part of the 326th Medical Company, and 
Major Crandall's team. 

For Crandall this was a special day. His 
placid features and deliberate gestures hard- 
ly concealed his elation. From the very be- 
ginning it had been his ambition to partici- 
pate in an aerial mission. And this was no 
ordinary mission. It was a giant airborne 
assault in which he was playing a vital part. 
For the first time in history, a complete sur- 
gical team was to be glider-landed in enemy 
territory. He was the surgical spearhead. 

The members of the team spread them- 
selves over five gliders. The take-off was 

at H minus 5 hours. In Crandall's glider 
there was little talk. Everybody thought of 
what the next few hours would bring. After 
an hour and a half the steady roar of the 
towplanes was broken by the angry crescen- 
do of a Nazi fighter. It passed directly over- 
head and disappeared as quickly as it had 
come. The towplanes scattered. The goal 
was in sight. 

On the short flight from St. Sauveur le 
Vicomte to Ste. Mere Eglise the gliders ran 
through a heavy anti-aircraft barrage. Cran- 
dall tried to orient himself through the din. 
He had an exact mental picture of the coun- 
try and he recognized the inundated areas 
without difficulty. Flak eased up. On went 
the warning light. This was it. 

Another glider shot out of the darkness. 
It crossed not more than twenty yards away, 
sheared off a wing, and pancaked heavily, 
Forewarned, the pilot of Crandall's glider 
veered away. He skimmed over the trees, 
came in for a perfect landing, but was un- 

t» * 

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Roddo iurvfv*d the croik of hii glider, 


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able to stop before the next row of trees. 
The sound of splintering wood rent the air. 
Crandall felt as if he hit a brick wall. He 
bounced forward, crashed through the hull, 
and catapulted twenty feet. It was H 
minus 3. 

When Crandall scrambled from the 
wreckage the first thing he noticed was the 
deathlike silence. No roar of engines, no 
bark of guns, no whistle of wind. Just si- 
lence, the silence of the night. Crandall 
reared himself. Was he the only survivor? 
A voice came from the middle of the field: 
"I'm hurt. Can anybody help me?" 

Crandall turned. It was Lieutenant Col- 
onel Murphy* the pilot of the glider that had 
preceded Crandall's. He was badly hurt and 
his passenger, Brigadier General Pratt, the 
Assistant Commander of the Division, was 
dead. The night started badly. 

Crandall did what he could for Colonel 
Murphy and established an aid-station under 
the wing of the glider. Wichin a short time 
he heard that there were four more gliders 
in the same field, all of them with casualties. 
He organized a team of aid-men. In the 
middle of these activities he heard that the 
other members of his team had landed just 
two fields away. All had crash-landed and 
Rodda suffered several fractured ribs. But 
that was not enough to stop him, "Within a 
short time everybody was busy. 

"Major, I think this fellow has a broken 

"Put him here," Crandall bent over to 
examine the new casualty. Then he became 
aware of a sound that was later to become 
very familiar, the sound of an empty bottle 
tumbling through the air. It was a mortar 
shell. Everybody ducked- There was a dull 
thud, then silence. A paratrooper crawled 
over to investigate, "It's a dud. The Krauts 
don't even know how to set a fuse!" 

Crandall realized that the Germans had 
a bead on them. It would be foolhardy to 
stay. He gave his orders quickly. All the 

wounded to be carried to the ditch. Team 
to gather at the end of the field- No one to 
say a word. The men were getting their 
baptism of fire. 

"With the crack of dawn Crandall took 
his bearings. He was on the high ground 
east of the Carentan-Ste. Mere highway. 
Hicsville should be straight north. Leaving 
part of his team to care for the casualties, 
he organized a reconnaissance party. Cau- 
tiously the men advanced. Caution was not 
enough however. They ran into a German 
patrol. Soon every man was on his own. 

As soon as the patrol moved off, Crandall 
continued. A dog barked. "Where there 
is a dog, there are people," Crandall said to 
himself. "Eve got to find out where I am." 
He crossed a field and came to a farmhouse. 
The house was dark. Crandall knocked. To 
his great surprise his knock was answered 
almost immediately. A farmer, fully dressed, 
stood in the door. 

"Entrez, mon capitaine. Votre ami est 
eja ici. 

There followed a long monologue from 
which Crandall gathered that another Amer- 
ican was in the house. l( Un blesse grave, mon 
capitaine!" A casualty! Instinctively, Cran- 
dall put his hand on his medical pouch. He 
followed the farmer to a back room. It was 
obviously the best room in the house. A fire 
was roaring in the fireplace and a bed had 
been pushed as close as possible to the com- 
fortable source of heat, The casualty sat on 
this bed. His shoes were off and he had one 
foot in a bucket of steaming water. A good 
looking girl busied herself putting hot com- 
presses on the American's slightly swollen 

"Hallo sergeant, What's the matter?" 

"Nothing much, Major. Just sprained an 

"Can you walk?" 

"Not very well, sir." 

"I'll send a jeep for you as soon as I can." 


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"Sir, if it's all the same to you, never 
mind the jeep. Til be all right here. This 
isn't a bad spot." And the paratrooper nod- 
ded towards the girl. 

Crandall turned to the farmer: 

"Oil est Hiesvilie?" 

"Hiesvilie? Mais mon capitaine! C*est la- 
bas!" And the farmer broke into the French 
equivalent of "You can't miss it." 

Crandall struck out. It was lighter now 
and he soon ran into members of the first 
battalion of the 506th Parachute Infantry 
who were on their way to Hiesvilie. There 
was no further interference. The village 
seemed to be undefended and Crandall se- 
lected five paratroopers to take possession of 
the Chateau Colombienne* The building 
stood off by itself, apparently deserted. 
Crandall led his party towards it. 

A shot rang out. It came from the stable. 
One of the paratroopers slumped to the 
ground. The men scattered and brought 
the stable under fire. There was no answer. 
Two scouts edged forward while the others 
covered. They reached the courtyard and 
entered the house. Crandall awaited develop- 
ments. While he lay in the ditch, another 
shot rang out and one of his bodyguards 
collapsed. The chtteau might look peaceful 
but it certainly was not a healthy place, 

A rifle team arrived. Bullets beat a pat- 
tern, Reinforcements came up. The house 
was sprayed. The two paratroopers who had 
entered found only a French family. There 
was no further fire. At 8:0 S AM the build- 
ing passed into American hands. 

Crandall immediately started a prelimi- 
nary inspection. The French occupants 
welcomed him with open arms but cautioned 
him that German snipers were in the vicin- 
ity. Crandall started assuring them that they 
need have no fear. In the midst of his con- 
versation there was another shot and a man 
who had been standing in the courtyard 
wheeled and fell. This was going too far. 

While Crandall finished his rounds of the 
house his paratroopers made a thorough 
search for the sniper but without success. 
In spite of all their efforts the courtyard 
came under intermittent fire during the four 
days it was in use. This situation was quite 
typical of the fighting in Normandy, Sni- 
pers were everywhere and it was extremely 
difficult to dislodge them. The man at the 
Chateau Colombienne was not silenced until 
a bomb laid the building in ruins. 

Meanwhile the 326th Medical Company 
began to arrive and so did the other Third 
Auxers. Crandall set up an operating room 
in the milkhouse which had a concrete floor, 
large windows, and a pump with spring 
water. The living room was converted into 
a shock ward and the kitchen into a minor 
operating room. The courtyard became a 
reception station. There was no confusion. 
The medics improvised litters from window 
casings, feed troughs, kitchen tables, and 
sawed -off ladders. The Third Auxers fired 
the huge stove, boiled the instruments, ar- 
ranged the tables, and prepared plaster. At 
H plus 3 Crandall selected the first case. It 
was Lieutenant Colonel Murphy. He sur- 
vived and was the first casualty from the 

The Choroou Colombienne, sit* of the tint 

clearing ffOtion in Normandy. Picture taken 

following the bombing on 9 Juno, 


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10 1st Airborne to return to the States. To 
Crandall's men goes the credit of performing 
the first surgery on the beachhead. 

The 10 1st Airborne suffered badly from 
scattered drops, just as the 82nd had. This 
dispersion arlected both personnel and equip- 
ment. Less than half the medical company 
reached Hiesville on D Day and less than 
ten per cent of the parachute bundles were 
recovered. Yet, the work went on full speed. 
The Division Surgeon with his party reached 
the site on the afternoon of D Day. Over- 
land evacuation of casualties started on D 
plus 1. Crandall and his men never stopped. 

When D Day ended, the 101st Airborne 
had accomplished the most important part 
of its mission: to seize the beach exits. 
Towards the south the position was more 
precarious. The causeways across the Douve 
had not been reached and the locks at La 
Barquette were held by little more than a 
skeleton force. The rapid overland progress 
of the 4th Division freed the 101st for its 
onslaught on this area. In a week of fierce 
fighting the 101st seized the causeways, ad- 
vanced on Carentan, and effected a junc- 
tion with the Omaha beachhead. Carentan 
fell on 12 June. The beachheads were joined 
on 14 June* 

On the evening of D plus 3 the operating 
room at Hiesville was going full blast. There 
was heavy fighting on the causeways and 
ambulances were arriving incessantly. At 
eleven o'clock Crandall did a hurried triage. 
There were four casualties with abdominal 
wounds, three with chest wounds, and several 
dozen with wounds of the extremities. He 
quickly assessed the abdominal cases and se- 
lected the worst one. There had been no 
rest for three days and yet Crandall's hand 
was steady as he opened the abdomen. This 
was bad. Three holes in the stomach, one 
in the large intestine, and a lacerated kidney. 
Start with the kidney, "was Crandall's 
thought. "Large clamp," he said* holding 
out his hand. 

At this instant he paused. A roar of low- 
flying planes filled the air. They passed 
directly overhead. Then came the ominous 
whistle of bombs. The earth shook. The 
massive building shuddered. A heavy beam 
came down from the ceiling, carrying bricks 
and plaster with it. Lights went out, walls 
caved in, windows were blown to bits. 
Everybody in the operating room was 
knocked down. One entire wing of the 
building became a sixty-foot crater* The 
Nazi bombers had found their mark. 

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The bombs 

l»fr a si i ty -foot crater 

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Rescue work was virtually impossible. 
Scores of men were buried under debris, 
crushed by fallen masonry. Tons of cement 
settled down and smothered those who were 
pinned. Men who had talked lightheartedly 
a moment before were now moaning and 
praying for deliverance. The Third Auxers 
were badly shaken but otherwise unhurt. For 
hours they stumbled through the wreckage, 
trying to tell the living from the dead. Not 
until daybreak was it possible to make up 
the score. Of the station personnel, eight 
were killed and fourteen injured- Among 
the men who were being cared for at the 
time, the losses were even heavier* Hiesville 
was one of the worst catastrophes to befall 
a medical installation in the war. 

The 326th Clearing Company was mauled 
but not defeated* The team remained at its 
post. On D plus 4 six officers and sixty-one 
enlisted men arrived from Corps Reserve, 
The 42nd Field Hospital loaned equipment* 
A new site was selected and within a few 
days the station was again in operation. 

After the fall of Carentan the 10 1st Divi- 
sion went into action protecting the south- 
ern flank of the forces in the Cotentin and 
after the fall of Cherbourg it returned to 
England. There, Crandall and his men found 
orders directing them to return to the Third 
Aux iii France. However, Major Taylor, 
the Commanding General of the Division, 
had other plans. He requested that the team 
stay. General Kenner gave the men their 
choice. Every member of the team elected 
to remain with the 101st. They became an 
integral part of the 326th Medical Com- 
pany, shared in its glory in the Holland 
operation, and tasted defeat at Bastogne. 
Such were the men of the Third Aux. 


Task Force "U" sailed from nine different 
loading points in the Torquay area on the 

evening before D Day* It was made up of 
86? vessels in twelve separate convoys which 
were to rendezvous 22,500 yards off the 
beach* H Hour was 6:2 5 A.M* 

Beach organization was in the hands of 
the 1st Engineers Special Brigade, veterans 
of Sicily. The beach clearing stations were 
to be established by the 261st Medical Bat- 
talion* This battalion was made up of three 
companies and each company was to set up 
its own station. The plan was for Companies 
"A" and r, C" to land at H plus 4 near Exit 
3, Company "B" was to follow the next day* 
Each company had two surgical teams at- 
Company "A** 

Team 4 (Major Robert M. Coffey) 
Team J (Major Walter W, King) 
Company "B" 

Team 2 (Major Howard W. Brettell) 
Team 3 (Major Frank Wood) 
Company "C" 

Team 1 (Major Allen M. Boyden) 
Team 6 (Major Glenn W. Zeiders) 
Shortly before D Day Captain Parrott and 
T-F Asa Thomas came down with malaria*. 
a hang-over of their Sicily days. The men 
were utterly miserable but they were so 
keyed up that they insisted on staying with 
their team. They went ashore, two jumps 


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ahead of a disease that is notorious for its 
inroads on energy and morale. 

Ac midnight a group of Third Auxers 
gathered at the railing of their LCI. The 
weather was cold and windy. Now and then 
the moon would come through. Ships were 
all around- 

"It sure is dark/' said Boyden to a boat- 
swain. "I hope the Captain knows where 
he is going/ 1 

"Well, he's got plenty of buoys to guide 
him," was the answer. "Do you see them?" 
And the boatswain pointed to a line of red 
and green dots stretching faintly in the dis- 

"Good work," said Boyden, "I hope they 
took care of the mines at the same time." 

"Oh, sure," said the boatswain, "They 
have been at it for days. The main field is 
over there. Cardonnet Bank." 

The lighthearted tone of the boatswain 
was a tonic. And why shouldn't he be light- 
hearted, was Boyden's reflection. All he has 
to do is put us off and go back home. 

At H minus J the LCFs passed the marker 
vessel and entered the rendezvous area. 
Knowing that there would be at least a 
three-hour wait, the men settled down. Some 
paced the deck, some munched K rations, 
some made a last-minute check of their 
equipment, and some talked of family and 
home. At H minus 2 the assault troops de- 
barked. The water was choppy and the 
small boats immediately began circling to 
avoid being swamped. There were com- 
mands and counter-commands, collisions 
and near-collisions, but on the whole the 
process was remarkably orderly. At H minus 
1 the flotilla took off. 

Th* oflginoon go aboard on LST, 

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At H minus 40 minutes the Naval bom- 
bardment started. A force of one battle- 
ship, five cruisers, eight destroyers, and three 
subchasers plastered the area between Exit 
1 and Exit 4, A few minutes later 276 
Marauders laid their eggs. By this time the 
first waves were already approaching the 
beach* They carried the 1st and 2nd Bat- 
talions of the 8th Infantry Regiment. 

These battalions were supposed to land 
astride Exit 3 but they were deflected two 
thousand yards to the south and came in 
astride Exit 2. Several circumstances were 
responsible. In the first place, three of the 
four control vessels were disabled before 
they reached their destination. This left only 
one vessel to guide the assault waves. In the 
second place, a strong tidal current swept 
the buoys off course. In the third place, 
the tremendous Naval bombardment had 

thrown up clouds of smoke and obscured 
the landmarks. 

Potentially the error was serious, actually 
it was fortunate. The beach farther south 
was not only less heavily blocked but also 
more thinly manned. Directly astride Exit 
2 were two machine gun emplacements. 
These were quickly overrun and the road 
now lay open. With Exit 2 cleared, the 1st 
Battalion moved up the beach to Exit 3 and 
the 2nd Battalion moved down to Exit 2. 
Thus the battle was developing according 
to schedule except that it took place con- 
siderably south of the projected area. Be- 
cause resistance was light during the first 
few hours it was decided to exploit the exist- 
ing situation. Markers were shifted. A 750- 
yard strip south of Exit 2 was marked Uncle 
Red and a similar strip to the north was 
marked Tare Green. 

LCVP'i toll* off. In tfia background, a cruiwr. 


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Beach clearing started promptly. By H 
plus 3 tankdozers had pushed the obstacles 
out of the way and bulldozers had beaten 
a wide path through the dunes. Company 
aid-men and members of the Naval medical 
sections had gathered up the few casualties 
and established two stations* one on Uncle 
Red and one on Tare Green. Some of the 
casualties had been loaded on craft return* 
ing to the Transport Area as early as H 
plus 2 ! /2- Ashore were also twenty -eight 
litter bearers of the SOlst Medical Collecting 
Company, Such was the situation when the 
teams debarked from their LCI's into land- 
ing boats. 

The first teams to beach were those of 
Boyden and Zeiders, the hour being ap- 
proximately H plus 4. 

"Well, we made it," was each man's first 
thought. "Now, where is all the excite- 

There was very little excitement on the 
beach proper at this time. The 2nd Battalion 
had just met the enemy at Ste. Marie du 
Mont, about three miles inland- Sharp fight- 
ing took place there but the area was well 
out of earshot. The men had been briefed 
to follow the exit road for half a mile and 
set up station at the first crossroad. Drag- 
ging their equipment with them, they 
crossed a single row of dunes and looked 
out over a low-lying swamp bordered by a 
few desolate farmhouses. The road was nar- 
row and devoid of shoulders, A disabled 
tank lay in a ditch. Ducks and trucks were 
inching past the tank. A shell kicked up a 

Utoh on D plus 6- In the foreground, o German 47 mm anti-lank nun, complete with potato 



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shower of mud near the cluster of houses 
of La Madeleine, 

"Well, we are in the stream of history, 
boys," said Pritchett. 

"Maybe, but what a place for history to 
flow through/' said Zeiders. "Just give me 
Canton, Ohio." 

The road intersection was not far. At 
this point the men turned north, following 
the edge of the swamp. Major Skinner, Com- 
manding Officer of Company "C," was in 
the vanguard with the Third Auxers, He 
consulted his map. 

"Here it is," he said, "This is where we 
are supposed to pitch our tents." 

The men looked around. All they saw 
was a big sign saying ACHTUNG MINEN* 
Kempner knew what that meant. 

"How about a place without a welcome 

"The instructions are plain," said Skin- 
ner. "We stay here-" 

The personnel of Company "C** had 
brought their own mine detectors and they 
knew exactly how to use them. In England, 
when it was announced that the medics 
would have to de-mine their own stations 
there had been a wave of indignation. 
"What? Clean up those fields ourselves? Who 
do they think we are?" was the comment. 
But now the men could see the necessity of 
it. The engineers on the beach were much 
too busy. The medics went to work and 
the Third Auxers gave them a hand. They 
found over a hundred mines! 

Casualties came in. The equipment of 
Company "C" had been packed on two 
duwks, two trucks, and six jeeps. The 
vehicles should have been deposited on the 
beach at the same time as the men. But 
there was no sign of them. Impatiently, 
Skinner looked at his watch. Each succes- 
sive hour brought more casualties. Still no 
trucks. What was the matter? 

There was a good reason. Genera! Barton 

of the 4th Division had closed Exit 2 to all 
vehicles except anti-tank guns and ammu- 
nition trucks. This exit was the only func- 
tioning outlet from the beach. It was nar- 
row, exposed, and bordered by swamp land. 
A single hit by an enemy shell would have 
blocked it for hours. Hundreds of vehicles 
were accumulating on the beach but only 
one at a time could get off. In this emer- 
gency, tanks and anti-tank weapons had 
priority and the medical trucks had to wait* 

"Captain, we've got a man here that's 
been hurt pretty bad*" 

Parrott looked up. "Where?" 

"Right here, sir." 

Parrott hurried over. It was a lieutenant 
with a deep neck wound. The bullet had 
fractured the voice box and the patient was 
slowly dying of asphyxiation, Parrott was 
desperate. Anxiously he scanned the road. 
**If I could just get my hands on an endo- 
tracheal tube I" 

At that very moment a truck arrived at 
the intersection* It turned north. Parrott 
looked again. Yes, it was one of the medical 
trucks. He dashed down the road, guided 
the truck into the field, and began a frantic 
search for the tube. It was a race against time* 
Nobody knew exactly where to look. Each 
chest had to be opened and ransacked. Fin- 
ally there was a cry: "Here it is!" Parrott 
seized the precious gadget. "Steady son," he 
said as he manipulated the tube down his 
patient's throat. Down went the tube, up 
came the secretions. Within a minute the 
patient 1 * breathing became easier. Later that 
evening he was operated on and evacuated 
to the beach. This intubation was the first 
operation at the Utah beach clearing sta- 
tions, Parrott considers it the high spot in 
his career. 

Company "A" with the teams of Majors 
King and Coffey arrived on the beach at H 
plus 6 and set up a few hundred yards south 
of Company "C." There now took place a 


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contest between the two companies to see 
who could get the operating tent function- 
ing first. It was a draw. Third Auxers tri- 
aged their patients out in the open while the 
medics pitched the tents. They set a record. 
At H plus 1 1 the first casualty went on the 
table. Early surgery had become a reality. 

Third Auxers will never forget that first 
night. Casualties piled up. The 4th Division, 
after a rapid advance early in the day, had 
come up against stiff opposition. Of the three 
regiments, none had reached its goal. The 
12th was stopped at Beuzeville and the 22nd 
at St, Germain de Varreville. The 8th had 
established contact with the 101st Airborne 
at Pouppeville but it did not succeed in 
reaching the 82nd Airborne at Ste. Mere 
Eglise. A strong pocket of resistance re- 
mained south of the town and all efforts to 
liquidate it failed. It was this pocket that 
wrought havoc with the gliders that carried 
Team, t9. The farthest penetration was at 
Les Forges, some six miles inland but here 
too the Germans were putting up a real bat- 

tle. The beach clearing stations received 
casualties not only from the 4th Division but 
also from the airborne divisions. Triage be- 
came all-important. 

At midnight there was an air raid. AA 
units let fly. The spectacle was fantastic. 
In the pitch-black night tracer bullets criss- 
crossed, rockets mushroomed, and star shells 
blossomed. At the height of the excitement 
German planes dropped magnesium flares 
and the entire scene assumed an eerie hue. 
Third Auxers stood spellbound until they 
heard a heavy object land at their feet. 

"What was that?" said Setkin. 

"A little present from our own gunners/ 1 
said Brown. 

The next morning they found it. It was a 
jagged piece of steel, the size of a fist. From 
then on Third Auxers showed more interest 
in their foxholes than in the anti-aircraft 

The hardest job for the surgeons was not 
in the operating tent but in the preopera- 
tive tent. Usually the triage officer had only 

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Clearing station on Utah, Picture takan an D plus 1 

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a few minutes to make up his mind. In those 
few minutes life was in the balance. In those 
few minutes the surgeon had to decide 
whether this casualty was doomed to die or 
had a chance to live. High priorities were 
for those who might Jive. Low priorities 
were for those whose surgery could be post- 
poned and for those who were beyond help. 
But what if one's judgment failed? No hu- 
man being Is infallible. In civilian life a 
man can ponder and call a colleague. But 
here, there was no time. He was right or 
he was wrong and each time he was wrong, 
somebody paid with his life. It was a stag- 
gering responsibility. 

There was tragedy and pathos. Through 
all the stark misery there shone the spark 
of faith and hope, A tank sergeant was 
brought in with a compound fracture of 
the thigh and severe burns. This man was 
in his turret when his tank was hit by an 88 
at point-blank range. The shell pierced the 
turret and exploded inside, killing the entire 
crew except the sergeant. The tank caught 
fire and lethal fumes filled the confined 
space. Half suffocated and with his thigh 
bone broken in three places, this man never- 
theless succeeded in hoisting himself to the 
top and letting himself down to the ground. 
He managed to crawl to a ditch but was 
showered with burning gasoline when the 
tank blew up. Bullets raked the ditch. But 
he kept his wits. He rolled in the wet grass 
til! the flames were extinguished and he 
waited for help. It came too late. When 
this man was brought in a good many hours 
later there was only one thing tojjo : plenty 
of mo rphine and a few encouraging wortlsT 
His l ast words were: ^Captain, il my le g has 
to come "off, will the Army buy me a"new 
one?' 0«vU_ (LAHout c^ (j^-tf-aitj/v** 

D plus I dawned cold and gray. The mess 
sergeant served black coffee and Third Aux- 
ers stayed at their posts. Casualties continued 
to come in but help was on the way. At five 
o'clock in the afternoon Company "B" ar- 

rived with the teams of Major Howard W. 
Brettell and Major Frank Wood. This com- 
pany set up next to Company "C** 3 The 
fresh teams relieved the others for a few 
hours but soon the backlog rose again and 
all hands were pressed into service. 

There was bad news. The ship carrying 
the 42nd Field Hospital struck a mine and 
went down. The personnel was saved but 
the equipment was lost. The 4 f th Field Hos- 
pital did not arrive until D plus 4. Conse- 
quently the beach clearing stations handled 
all the wounded for the first four days. Three 
divisions channeled their casualties to the 
beach at a rate of a thousand per day! Only 
a small number were kept for surgery. The 
majority were shipped to England with 
nothing more than a dressing or a splint. 
Nevertheless, every casualty had to be tri- 
aged and the burden fell largely on the Third 
Aux teams. 

The only help to arrive on D plus 1 was 
the Clearing Company of the 50th Medical 
Battalion, This company set up station at 
Le Grand Chemin but it could do little 
towards relieving the bottleneck on the 
beach because it had no facilities for major 

D plus 1 saw heavy fighting on all sides 
of the expanding beachhead. The best prog- 
ress was made towards the southwest; the 
slowest towards the northwest where the 
Germans had many prepared fortifications. 
Enemy batteries at Ozeville and Crisbecq 
shelled the beach incessantly. The 82nd Air- 
borne on the west bank of the Merderet 
had hard going. Landings were behind sched- 
ule. Penetrations extended only for an aver- 
age of six miles instead of the hoped-for 
fifteen, Worst of all, the Germans began 
to realize that Utah was the major effort. 
A strong counterattack at any point would 
have been disastrous, 

D plus 2 brought little relief to the clear- 
ing station. The chief medical unit to come 
ashore was the Medical Battalion of the 4th 


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Division. It set up station near St. Hebert. 
Some of the personnel of the 42nd Field 
Hospital also arrived, but without their 
equipment. Late in the day a special detach- 
ment of six Fourth Aux teams beached. They 
went to work at the clearing station on the 
morning of D plus 3. The same ship also 
brought two collecting companies, part of 
a medical depot company, and various ad- 
vance parties of units yet to be landed. 

Tactically, the center of gravity shifted 
south on D plus 2. Genera! Eisenhower visit- 
ed Omaha and ordered first-priority for the 
job of linking the two beachheads. This 
meant an immediate onslaught on Carentan, 
a task entrusted to the 101st Airborne. 

On D plus 3 the medical situation con- 
tinued virtually unchanged. There was still 
no field hospital in operation, although the 
2nd Platoon of the 42nd Field Hospital was 
gathering rapidly at Le Grand Chemin. The 
beach clearing station with twelve surgical 
teams continued as the only installation for 
major surgery. 

On D plus 2 the hard-pressed teams re- 
ceived a welcome reinforcement. Three more 
Third Aux teams arrived; 

Team 21 (Major Philip F. Partington) 
Team 22 (Major Clifford L. Graves) 
Team 23 (Major Mark H. Williams) 

Finally, the 42nd Field Hospital was able 
to open and it was joined shortly by a pla- 
toon of the 4Jth Field Hospital. In addition, 
the 128th Evacuation Hospital came in. It 
set up on D plus 5 at BoutteviHe and it was 
followed very soon by the 91st Evacuation 

Thus it was a full five days before the 
beach clearing stations were relieved of their 
burdens. Beginning with D plus J, Third 
Aux teams were rapidly shifted to the field 
hospitals and by D plus 7, only one team 
was left on the beach. This was Major 
Zeider's who supervised the work of trans- 
shipping casualties to England until 28 June. 

Summing up the initial week on Utah, it 
may be said that the seaborne landings had 
come off with surprising ease. It was only 
when the troops started inland that they met 
serious resistance. On Omaha Beach the sit- 
uation was just the reverse. Here, the troops 
encountered fierce opposition on D Day but 
the later phase was less hectic. Omaha is 
an epic. 


The teams earmarked for Omaha sailed 
with Force "O" from Weymouth Bay on 5 
June. Force "O" consisted of 34,000 men 
on 298 transports, escorted by 3 3 mine- 
sweepers and J S J service vessels. The ren- 
dezvous point was 23,000 yards off the 

Omaha had been divided into two sub- 
sectors, east and west. The western sub- 
sector was to be assaulted by the 1 16th Regi- 
mental Combat Team, made up of 1st Divi- 
sion and 29th Division troops. Beach clear- 
ing was assigned to the 6th Engineers Special 
Brigade. The beach clearing station was to 
be operated by the 60th Medical Battalion 
which had one clearing company, the 6J4th, 
The station was to be established near Exit 
D-3, in the vicinity of les Moulins. The 
teams were as follows: 

Team 1 3 (Major Darrell A. Campbell) 
Team 14 (Major Benjamin R. Reiter) 
Team 18 (Major Horace G. Williams) 
Team 17 (Major Alfred Hurwitz) 
The eastern subsector was to be assaulted 
by the 16th Regimental Combat Team. 
Beach clearing was assigned to the 5th Engi- 
neers Special Brigade. This brigade was serv- 
iced by the 61st Medical Battalion. The 61st 
Medical Battalion had three independent 
"collecting-clearing" companies, designated 
originally the 391st, the 392nd, and the 
393rd. These numbers were later changed 


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to "A," "B," and "C." Each company was 
made up of one collecting company and one 
clearing platoon and each company was to 
set up its own clearing station. The teams 
were as follows: 
Company "A" 

Team 11 (Major Charles A, Serbst) 
Team 8 (Major John B, Peyton) 
Company "B" 

Team 12 (Major James M. Higgin- 

Team 10 (Major Reynold E, Church) 
Company M C" 

Team 7 (Major Louis W, Stoller) 
Team 9 (Major Douw S. Meyers) 
Team IS (Major Robert M. Sutton) 
Team 16 (Major Francis M. Findlay) 
The twelve teams arrived at the rendez- 
vous point on three separate transports. The 
teams of Serbst, Peyton, Sutton, and Find- 
lay were on the "Empire Anvil." The teams 
of Stoller, Meyers, Church, and Htggin- 
botham were on the "Dorothea Dix." The 
teams of Campbell, Reiter, Williams, and 
Hurwitz were on LST 3 5 1. 

The battle on Omaha Beach will always 
rank as the shining example of American 
fighting spirit. It is a story that can be told 
here only in terms of what Third Auxers 
saw and did. Although the events took place 
on a beach where under ordinary circum- 
stances the entire action would be in plain 
sight, the fierce German resistance cut the 
area into multiple segments where every man 
was on his own. The story starts with Serbst's 
team which beached at H plus 5. 

Major Serbst's Team 
The SS "Empire Anvil" entered the ren- 
dezvous area at H minus 3, all hands on deck. 
Besides the teams of Serbst, Findlay, Peyton, 
and Sutton, it carried Company "A" of the 
61st Medical Battalion and components of 
the 16th Regimental Combat Team. A wind 

of fifteen knots whipped up a heavy swell 
and capped the long rollers with white foam. 

"Well, at least we'll be wafted ashore," 
said Peyton who could see the lighter side 
of any situation, no matter how grim, 

"That'll suit me," was Sutton's reply. 
"I've had enough of this boat already." And 
he pointed with obvious annoyance at a big 
gash on his forehead where he had been cut 
by the sharp steel of a porthole. 

"Just wait till you get on that beach and 
you'll wish you were back here," countered 

"Anything is better than this miserable 
ship, I'll take a foxhole." 

"Look, they're beginning to take off." 

The first LCVP's were being swung over- 
board. The "Empire Anvil" carried thirty- 
three of these and the process of lowering 
them down to the sea took almost an hour. 
Each boat held approximately thirty men. 
At H minus 1 they took off, destination 
Easy Red. It was a journey from which 
many never returned, 

Low hanging clouds obscured the field 
of vision and a raw wind made Third Auxers 
shiver. They congregated in the bow and 
peered in the direction of the shore. Only 
the distant rumble of the Naval bombard- 
ment told them that the battle had been 
joined. "It's just like Slapton Sands, isn't 
it?" satd Serbst. 

The first wave of LCVP's was due back at 
the "Empire Anvil" at H plus 2. The plan 
was to send the teams next. However, no 
LCVP's showed up. Out of the 200 craft 
used in the first wave less than a dozen were 
able to return to their mother ships. Some 
lost their bearings, some were hailed by other 
vessels, but most were wrecked. The gun 
positions on Omaha Beach had opened up 
with a withering fire. 

At H plus 3, a lone LCVP hove to. Slowly 
and laboriously the wallowing vessel worked 
its way alongside. 


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"Look/* said Tansley. "See that dent in 
the ramp? He must have been hit. The damn 
thing is half full of water." 

The LCVP was attached to a boom and 
the crew members clambered out. They 
were both wounded and badly shaken. Their 
story was of one calamity after another. 
Thek boat had been hit. The beach was a 
shambles. The battalion medical sections had 
been wiped out. The engineers had been 
unable to land. The men ashore were being 
mowed down. It was a picture of dire con- 
fusion and distress. 

The commanding officer of Company "A" 
held a conference with Major Serbs:, Ob- 
viously, there was no room for the entire 
company in the battered LCVP. The most 
that could be done was to fill the boat to 
capacity and hope that it would remain 

afloat for one more trip. A call went out 
for volunteers. The response was overwhelm- 
ing. Not a man wanted to be left out. The 
commanding officer picked twenty-three of 
his own men and the team of Major Serbst. 
These men boarded the boat within a few 

But who was to act as steersman for the 
craft? Nobody had thought of that. A 
Navy chief stepped forward. Leveling a 
finger at his most expendable man, he thun- 

"Hey, you! Get in that boat. And make 
it snappy. What do you think Uncle Sam 
is paying you for?" 

The poor feJlow was so amazed at the 
command that he forgot to answer the ques- 
tion. Take that LCVP to shore? Why, he 
had never manned anything heavier than a 

Omaha Bench, looking w«t. Third Auxtn landed whvra baach curv« ta the right. 

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canoe! But the chief was in no mood to 
argue. The sailor buttoned up his coat, put 
on his gloves, and slid down into the half- 
flooded assault boat. In his consternation, he 
slipped and splashed water in all directions. 

"Come on, fellow," said Serbst. "It isn't as 
bad as all that. All you have to do is take 
us to Easy Red. Let's get going/ 1 

The coxswain took up his position. The 
engine kicked over* The boat raised its head 
out of the water. They were off! 

Trouble began from the start. Long roll- 
ers bore down on the damaged craft. Spray 
filled the air. The pump was flooded. Water 
rose rapidly in the bottom. Several of the 
men became violently ill. Serbst took a grip 
on himself. 

"Fellows, we've got to bail this box if we 
want to keep her afloat. Use that bucket. 
Use your helmet. Let's get rid of this water 
or well drown like rats." He dipped his 
own helmet and pitched its contents over- 
board. Never was an order obeyed with 
more alacrity. 

Halfway towards shore, Serbst peered 
out. It seemed to him that the trip was tak- 
ing much longer than necessary, even an 
this leaky tub. 

f 'Say, fellow, do you know where you 
are going?" he asked of the coxswain. 

"Yes sir," came the answer* unconvinc- 

"Where?" insisted Serbst. 

The coxswain pointed ahead. All Serbst 
could see was a low-lying headland about 
three miles way. There were no signs of 
battle. The sea too was suspiciously quiet. 
Except for a destroyer in the distance, there 
wasn't another craft in sight. 

"Hey, what's that?" said Tansley, point- 
ing to a large metal object floating in the 

"Looks like a mine," said Fisher. 

"Mine? We're supposed to be in a swept 
channel aren't we?" said Galvin in pained 

"Well, if we are, we certainly have it to 
ourselves, 1 ' said Serbst. "What's the ^core 
anyway? Are we spearheading this inva- 
sion r 

There was a moment of silence. Then 
. . , . whoosh! The unmistakable sound of 
a shell. Startled, the men looked seaward. 
The same destroyer that had been circling 
idly in the distance a moment ago now bore 
down on them like a charging monster, 
smokestacks belching, guns blazing. 

"Look out!" shouted Serbst. "He'll run 
us down," 

He might as well have saved his breath. 
For all one could tell, the captain of the de- 
stroyer had drawn a bead on the Third 
Auxers. Closer and closer came the moun- 
tain of steel. At fifty fathoms it went into 
a sharp turn and let go with a broadside. 
There was a blinding flash, a deafening roar, 
and a small tidal wave. The LCVP rocked 

"Where the hell do they think they're 
going?" said Serbst after he had recovered 
from the shock. "That looked like a British 
destroyer to me. Have we joined the limeys 
or has the American Navy been sunk?" 

He had hardly finished speaking when 
there was a flash of fire from the shore. Sec- 
onds later, a small geyser appeared on the 
destroyer's starboard side. Then the truth 
bore in: This destroyer was fighting it out 
with a shore battery! The LCVP had drifted 
into the British sector. No wonder they had 
seen no sign of the control ships. No wonder 
they had gone through a mine field. No 
wonder they were drawn into a battle royal. 
They were heading straight for Arroman- 

Serbst turned disgustedly to the would-be 
navigator: "We're off course. Get back 


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where we started from, We're lucky if we 
make it." 

The LCVP made a big half-circle. Back 
it went, heading into the swell, shipping 
more water with every wave. It was a pain- 
fully slow journey, made more so because 
of its utter futility* Presently one of the 
engines gave out. Harassed by mines and 
weighed down with tons of water, the LCVP 
limped back to the "Empire Anvil.* 1 It was 
in such precarious condition that it sank 
within a few minutes after the men had left 
her. For Team 1 1, Operation OVERLORD 
had started with a near-disaster. 

The "Empire Anvil" was still without 
word of its LCVP's but an LCT had drawn 
alongside and there was an animated con- 
versation between the two ships. Could 
the LCT take on the shipwrecked passen- 
gers? It was an unnecessary question because 
the master of the LST outranked the master 
of the LCT. As quickly as they could, 
Serbst's men transferred to the larger vessel. 
Wet, cold, and seasick, they hoped only for 
an early landing. Little did they realize what 
that meant. 

The most precious cargo aboard the LCT 
was a bulldozer. This became evident to all 
as soon they entered the assembly area, two 
miles off-shore. Here, a number of boats 
were plying the water, while the signal offi- 
cer on the regulating ship was trying to get 
clearance for them. According to the sched- 
ule, Easy Red should have been ready for 
heavy equipment. Actually, all the beach 
exits were covered by enemy fire. Bulldozers 
might be able to clear a path up to the exits. 
The man with the megaphone on the regu- 
lating ship caught sight of the LCT. 

"LCT, LCT," he shouted. "Are you 


"Get going. Shoot for Easy Red." 

From the regulating ship to the shore was 
about ten minutes, the longest ten minutes 

these men had known. In the surf the 
LCT slowed down. It was a sitting duck. 
Excitement was at fever pitch. Shells brac- 
keted the ship. The German gunners zeroed 
in. Everyone knew that the next shell would 
find its mark. The ship scraped bottom. The 
ramp came down. The men surged forward. 

Nobody will ever know why the German 
gunners hesitated. Perhaps they were mak- 
ing a last-minute correction for wind drift. 
Perhaps they were waiting for a better tar- 
get. Perhaps they were playing a game of 
cat and mouse. At any rate, they held their 
fire for a few seconds and in those few sec- 
onds, everybody who could walk was over 
the ramp. Then the bulldozer came for- 
ward. It just stood there defiantly. A mo- 
ment later it was a mass of twisted wreck- 
age. Ironically, the LCT delivered Its entire 
cargo except the one item that was really 

Team 1 1 stumbled ashore. The first im- 
pression was one of utter devastation. The 
beach was littered with wreckage and strewn 
with dead and wounded. In the distance, a 
soldier was trying to pull a wounded com- 
rade out of the surf. Where were the mark- 
ers, the litter bearers, the collecting points? 
In fact, where was everybody? The men 
looked at each other in consternation. Some- 
thing was dead wrong. 

Something was dead wrong. "What had 
happened? The true story did not come 
to light until much later. 

In the first place, the pre-assault bom- 
bardment had gone awry. When the Lib- 
erators arrived over the beach, the overcast 
made direct observation impossible. Path- 
finders laid out the drop zone but, for fear 
of hitting the assault boats which were then 
already approaching, they laid it too far in- 
land. The bombs dropped in rear areas 
and the beach escaped. 

In the second place, the DD tanks came 
to grief. These were the swimming tanks 


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that were supposed to give covering fire for 
the infantry. The rough water played havoc 
with them. In the eastern subsector, only 
five tanks made the beach and of those five, 
three were disabled in the first few minutes, 
In the western subsector, the tanks did not 
even take off. In the absence of these val- 
uable weapons the infantrymen were fight- 
ing the shore batteries practically bare- 

In the third place, the strong current 
carried many LCVP's off their target. Land- 
ings were made too far to the east* Some- 
times the error was as much as a thousand 
yards. One company of the 1 1 6th, which 
was destined for Easy Green, came in at Fox 
Green, two miles off target! More often the 
error was only a few hundred yards but 
even a few hundred yards was enough to 
isolate a unit on a beach that was under 
withering fire. An engineer unit with panels 
for marking Dog Red landed on Easy Red, 
a mile away. They set up their panels any- 
way. At H plus 2 an officer on Dog White 
saw two engineers dragging a heavy box of 
explosives along the open beach. As they 
stopped to rest, one of them wiped the sweat 
off his face: "Where are we? We are sup- 
posed to blow something up down toward 
Vierville.' 1 Vierville was a mile away! 

In the fourth place, the Army-Navy Spe- 
cial Engineer Task Force suffered crippling 
losses. These were the demolition teams that 
were supposed to blow gaps through the 
underwater obstacles. Of the sixteen teams, 
only five hit their sector on the nose and 
eight reached shore anywhere from ten to 
thirty minutes late. All buoys and poles for 
marking lanes were lost. Loaded with ex- 
plosives, whole parties were often wiped out 
by a single sheik Some of the teams did 
manage to fix their charges but too late to 
set them off before the assault infantry 
started passing through. In spite of these 
dire difficulties, the engineers blew a number 
of gaps, over half of them on Easy Red. 

Later in the day Easy Red became a grave- 
yard for hundreds of vehicles that were 
channeled there because other sectors were 
still blocked. 

The assault troops that landed on H Hour 
faced an insurmountable task. Instead of 
being able to cross the beach and scale the 
bluffs all in one breath, these men came 
under heavy fire as soon as they left their 
boats and they had very little to fight back 
with. Between H plus 1 and H plus I J/2, 
the initial assault force stumbled, crawled, 
and fought its way across the beach to the 
sea wall but the units lost half their men, 
became badly intermingled, and were often 
left without their commanding officers. The 
men dug in along the sea wall. The Germans 
in their trenches were just a few hundred 
yards away. Now began the advance against 
these trenches, an advance that spelled cer- 
tain doom for the first men to try it. Every- 
where it was the same: Men would jump 
across, set their charges, and crumple under 
a volley of machine gun bullets. It was only 
because of their magnificent disregard for 
their own lives that the Americans were able 
to carry the attack to the enemy. 

Between H plus 2 and H plus 4, the as- 
sault forces scaled the bluffs in four different 
areas: Dog White, Easy Green, Easy Red, 
and Fox Green. They scaled the bluffs rather 
than advance through the natural beach 
exits because these exits were flanked by Ger- 
man guns. The bluffs on the other hand 
had vegetation which gave a man some 
cover. Smoke from brush fires helped to 
provide concealment. The men who made 
it to the top immediately deployed them- 
selves against the known strong points on 
the outskirts of Vierville, St, Laurent, and 
Colleville. They bypassed the gun emplace- 
ments on the bluffs. At H plus J when 
Serbs t's team landed, these penetrations were 
well under way but only two of the thirty 
gun emplacements covering the beach had 
been knocked out. 


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The losses inflicted on the assault infantry 
were also felt in the Naval beach medical 
sections and the battalion medical sections. 
Under the murderous fire from the bluffs 
these men had been unable to start any or- 
ganized collection of casualties. Sections 
were scattered, equipment was lost, leader- 
ship was gone. Here and there the Third 
Auxers could see mute evidence that the 
medics had suffered heavily. The lone soldier 
who was tugging at a casualty in the surf 
represented the sum total of medical effec- 
tives on Easy Green at H plus 5. His efforts 
were pitifully inadequate in the face of the 
hundreds of wounded who were crying for 

Serbst called his men together. 

"Fellows, we are supposed to go some- 
where up there . . , . " And he pointed 
vaguely to the bluff which was just then 
coming under renewed attack. "If anybody 
wants to fight it out with an 88, go to it. If 
you want to dig a hole right here, go to it. 
But / am going to see if I can help a few of 
these poor bastards." And with that he start- 
ed towards a group of wounded. 

The effect of this courageous action was 
instantaneous. Within seconds the Third 
Auxers had deployed themselves. There was 
not much to work with, but at least they 
had morphine in their bags and water in 
their canteens. The LCVP's had brought 
medical pouches which contained such price- 
less things as plasma, splints, bandages, and 
dressings. Aided by the men of the 391st, 
the team members recovered these pouches. 
They chose the shelter of a wrecked bull- 
dozer as a collecting point. They dressed the 
worst wounds, splinted the worst fractures, 
and eased the last hours of those who were 
beyond help. It was a beginning. 

Easy Green and Easy Red became targets 
for a devastating barrage shortly after the 
Third Auxers landed. These two sectors were 
the first to be opened for vehicles because 

here the beach obstacles had been cleared. 
Also, Easy Red was the first sector to have a 
beach exit. Consequently, beach masters be- 
gan to direct incoming boats to these sectors. 
The Germans could not have wished for a 
better opportunity. They opened up on each 
boatload as it came ashore and their aim was 
excellent. No wonder. They had practiced 
for years! 

To be caught in an artillery barrage with- 
out cover and without the prospect of find- 
ing cover is probably the worst punishment 
a soldier can get. There is no salvation, no 
mercy, no escape. Life hangs by a thin 
thread, A man says his prayers and does his 
work, He has to have blind courage and 
blind faith. Any second may be his last. 

Each man carries his own memories of 
those fateful hours, Tansley remembers most 
vividly the driver of a bulldozer. For hours 
the engineers had been trying to beat a path 
up the bluff. Without this path no tanks 
could advance and without tanks the infan- 
trymen were at the mercy of the German 
batteries. Time and again, dozers came 
ashore, only to be immediately demolished 
by the point-blank fire of the emplacements. 

Finally a single dozer managed to cross 
the beach and reach the point where the 
road was to start. Shells came over. The 
driver paid them no heed, With phenom- 
enal dexterity he manipulated his dread- 
naught across the shingle and towards the 
blurt. Back he came, always two jumps 
ahead of the next explosion. Now this way. 
Then that way. Here was a dozer that out- 
ran the mines and outmaneuvered the 88's. 
It was unbelievable. 

Tansley had a good look at the man. He 
was very young, probably in his early twen- 
ties, but he gripped his lever with the grim 
determination of a veteran. He had no eyes 
for the destruction around him, no eyes for 
the rain of shells, no eyes for anything ex- 
cept the job at hand. Here was a man who 


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stuck by his guns, come hell or high water, 
Tansley stood transfixed. 

This game could not last forever. It came 
to an end on the last lap. A shell scored a 
direct hit and the driver was hurled to the 
ground, mortally wounded. Nobody will 
ever know the name of the man who gave 
his life for the path up the bluff on Easy 
Red. But perhaps the name is unimportant. 
It was the deed. That deed will live as a 
symbol of the kind of courage that carried 
the day. Tansley wiped the sweat off his 
brow. He had come close himself. 

Third Auxers could not expect to stay 
out of trouble for long on this beach where 
their every movement could be observed not 
only by the artillerymen but also by the 
machine gunners, a bare five hundred yards 
away. The first victim was T-4 Patelli, 
Patelli and Tansley were busying themselves 
with a group of wounded in a shell hole. 
A truck with explosives was slowly making 
its way towards the bluff, A mine went off 
and the truck began erupting ammunition, 
Tansley and Patelli ducked. When the dan- 
ger seemed over* they lifted their heads. No 
sooner had they done so than a second series 
of explosions took place. Again they fell 
flat but this time too late, Patelli was hit 
in the thigh and Tansley was burned. 

"Fm afraid that this means the end of 
the trail for me. Major," said Patelli as Tans- 
ley examined the wound. 

"Don't worry," was the answer, "We'll 
have you in the Victory Parade yet." 

There was no Victory Parade for the 
Third Aux but Patelli marched home more 
proudly than he would have done in the 
most spectacular military review. 

Team 11 was actually working in the 
wrong sector. Easy Green was supposed to 
be in the territory of the 60th Medical Bat- 
talion, but the only elements of this bat- 
talion ashore were a small reconnaissance 
party farther to the west. This party was 

completely immobilized and worked with- 
out any contact with the Third Auxers. 
These two independent groups were the only 
second -echelon medical personnel on the 
beach until H plus 7 when the teams from 
the "Dorothea Dix" landed. 

The next medical shipment to come to 
the beach was a small group of the 61st Med- 
ical Battalion. They too were immediately 
pinned down so that Third Auxers never 
saw them. It was just as well, If Serbst 
had known that these men were from the 
Headquarters Detachment* he would have 
blown his top. Such was the turmoil that 
typewriters arrived before surgical supplies! 

While this was going on Serbst started 
looking for a place to take his wounded. In 
his travels up and down that shell-pocked 
beach he came across the anti-tank ditch 
on Easy Green. It was located about half- 
way between high-water mark and the bluff 
and it offered at least some protection against 
grazing fire. The bottom was partly inun- 
dated and the approaches were still mined 
but it was better than no cover at all. Band- 
ing together with the surviving members of 
the beach medical sections and the battalion 
medical sections, the Third Auxers now 
started moving their wounded to this spot. 
Members of the 634th Clearing Company 
helped. In the early afternoon litter bearers 
of the J 00th Collecting Company arrived 
and still later came elements of the 1st Divi- 
sion Clearing Station. Everybody assumed 
the same risks, everybody braved the same 
hazards, everybody worked until he dropped 
with exhaustion. Thus, the first aid-station 
on Omaha got under way. 

To relieve suffering under such conditions 
was a real task. Most of the casualties were 
in profound shock, as much from exposure 
as from their wounds. All that was available 
was shelter, dressings, and morphine. How 
to provide warmth and nourishment? Galvin 
had a bright idea. He remembered that every 


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soldier had been supplied with a self -heating 
can of soup. These cans were life-savers. 
It was the only warm food on the beach for 

The first truck with medical equipment 
to arrive was one belonging to the collecting 
station of the 1st Division. It was loaded 
with tents and litters but it also had a goodly 
supply of first-aid items* Serbst immediate- 
ly sent a runner to direct the vehicle towards 
the ditch. The supplies were a godsend be- 
cause by this time over two hundred wound- 
ed had been gathered up and Third Auxers 
were beginning to feel the pinch. Sometimes 
it was possible to place a few of the casualties 
aboard returning ducks. The vast majority 

however had to be held until they could be 
evacuated seaward under cover of darkness. 

At H plus 10 the commanding officer of 
the 60th Medical Battalion landed. He made 
his way to the ditch, talked to Serbst, and 
returned to the water line to gather up the 
rest o£ his men, It was his last act, A shell 
struck him down only a few minutes later 
and Colonel Bullock died that same night. 
He was the man the battalion could least af- 
ford to lose. 

Serbst and his men stayed in the anti- 
tank ditch until noon of D plus I. During 
this time they helped in the treatment and 
evacuation of over four hundred casualties, 
among them four Third Auxers, To see who 

Eovy Green on D plus 5. Tank ditch in the right foreground. 


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these Third Auxers were, we muse return 
to the Transport Area fifteen miles off- 

The teams of 

Majors St alter, Meyers > Church, a fid 


These teams made the Channel passage 
on the SS Dorothea Dix, together with part 
of the 391st and 393rd Collecting -Clearing 
Companies. They arrived In the Transport 
Area, waited out their turn, and boarded an 
LCT at H plus 6. When they arrived at 
the control vessel, they learned that the first 
beach exit had just been opened and that 
they were to land forthwith on Easy Red. 
Major Meyers was the senior officer. 

"That doesn't look good to me," said 
Meyers when the LCT was about a quarter 
of a mile from the beach. "Do you see that 
pile-up down there?" And he pointed ahead 
where a number of boats had come to grief 
on under-water obstacles. 

"Those obstacles are the least of our wor- 
ries," said an ensign standing next to Meyers* 
"It's those 88's, Do you see how they hold 
their fire until a boat Is almost ready to land? 
That's when they have you at their mercy." 

Meyers swallowed hard. A landing in the 
face of enemy guns? That was even worse 
than he had suspected. At two hundred 
yards the craft was bracketed. Almost at 
the same time, a boat just ahead struck a 
mine and settled directly athwart the LCT* 
A collision seemed inevitable. At the last 
moment the LCT swung to starboard and 
a moment later it touched ground. The men 
jumped. They had no thought except to get 
to that beach. They waded in. When they 
looked back, they saw that their LCT had 
been hit and was making frantic efforts to 
return to sea. It was later demolished by 
a mine. 

Easy Red at H plus 7 was a shambles. 
Third Auxers saw a beach that had been 
swept at regular intervals by fire from the 
strong points flanking the E-l draw. The 

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Ferrate, Beaudreoult, and Bcrntttin dig in at the water'* edge. Thfi ii Easy Red. 


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results were painfully apparent. There was 
not a soul to be seen. Shell holes were every- 
where. Orientation was impossible. Even 
the personnel of the clearing companies had 
vanished. It was as if an evil hand had 
struck this area and taken every vestige of 
human life with it. 

Major Stolfer scanned the sands. Directly 
in front of him he saw a shiny button. It 
looked too regular for a natural shell. He 
bent over for a closer look. A mine! "Get 
back/' he warned. "We don't want to get 
blown up just yet." 

A shell struck the beach and the concus- 
sion blew Captain Beaudreault down. Un- 
injured, he scrambled to his feet. "Let's 
get out of here. We can't do any worse 
than this." 

The men struck out in a westerly direc- 
tion, close to the water line. They practically 
passed In review of the gun emplacement 
on the E-l draw. Had they known that this 
emplacement was full of German gunners, 
they would have sneaked off in the opposite 
direction. But they were completely una- 
ware of their predicament and they came 
within an ace of choosing this very draw to 
get off the beach! 

The beach master on Easy Red decided 
that his sector could handle vehicles. A bull- 
dozer had gotten through to the top of the 
bluff. Easy Red became a gathering point 
for the first large shipment of trucks and 
other rolling stock. The result was that the 
Germans laid the fiercest barrage of the day 
on this point. Firing mostly at distances of 

The ihingle wat rough on rchklti. 


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teams could have made excellent forward 
artillery observers. 

Without tools, Third Auxers were unable 
to dig in very far. The position of these 
men was such that it afforded them an unob- 
structed view of the beach and they followed 
the battle with emotions that rose or fell as 
the incoming troops either swept to the dune 
line or scattered in the face of the withering 
fire. They witnessed the arrival of the first 
artillery at H plus S (six half-drowned 
howitzers that fired a few ineffective 
rounds) and they watched the efforts of the 
engineers to clear the beach of obstacles and 
mine fields. Beyond the beach, the battle 
centered on the village of St. Laurent, This 
point had to be taken before vehicles could 
proceed inland* But St. Laurent was heavily 
defended and the exits remained blocked. 
As more and more vehicles became immo- 
bilized on Easy Red, the Germans increased 
their interdictory fire and the Third Auxers 
were alternately shaken by the devastation 
in the distance or showered with the flying 

"Cheer up, fellows. This can't last. There 
must be an easier way to make a living," 
said Captain Ferraro. At this moment, a 
shell struck within spitting distance, Fer- 
raro felt something hit him in the back. 
He reached out. His radio was split in two. 
He breathed a sigh of relief. Might have 
been worse* Suddenly his leg went numb 
and blood trickled out from under his pants. 
He was the third casualty of the day. Both 
he and Captain Friedman were able to re- 
join the Group several weeks later. 

Towards evening, the shelling subsided 
somewhat and these Third Auxers advanced 
a few hundred yards up the bluff. Here they 
ran into another mine field and spent the 
night only a few hundred yards from the 
teams of Church and Higginbotham. None 
of these men would have been a bit surprised 

if the Germans had pushed them back into 
the sea that night. 

The Teams of 

Majors Peyton, Suffon, and Findlay 

The SS Empire Anvil discharged its re- 
maining teams at H plus 6. These Third 
Auxers boarded an LCI and arrived an 
hour later at the control ship. All they knew 
was that they were supposed to land on the 
Easy sector but they had not the slightest 
idea what awaited them there. 

After an hour of circling aimlessly, the 
LCI received instructions to attempt a land- 
ing. It got as far as the surf. Then three 
shells struck in rapid succession directly off 
the bow. They came from the emplacement 
at the D-3 draw and inflicted heavy damage 
but no casualties. Intimidated, the LCI 
backed away. 

Two more times during the next hour, the 
LCI made a run for the beach but each time 
it was driven away. Finally, at H plus ID 
there seemed to be an opportunity. The cap- 
tain maneuvered his ship through the surf 
and ran her aground 75 yards from the 
water line. Clutching their bags, the men 
jumped off, waded through the waist-deep 
water, and stumbled ashore. They found 
themselves on Dog Red. 

The first thing that happened was enough 
to convince them that they were in a hot 
spot, Findlay recognized the command 
party of the Engineers Special Brigade. Mo- 
tioning his team to follow, he started towards 
the small group. A shell struck. One mo- 
ment the men were approaching each other. 
The next moment they were all on the 
ground. When Findlay lifted his head he 
saw that his own teammate, Major Stahler, 
had been wounded in the neck. General 
Hogue was paralyzed from a wound of the 
spine and his adjutant was killed instantly. 


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Such a scene would have unnerved any man. 
Not Findlav, Instantly he surveyed the 
damage and gave his directions. These men 
were plunged into a desperate situation five 
minutes after they landed. 

During the next few hours Findlay and 
Peyton deployed their men at the water line 
and on the tidal flat, while Sutton tried 
to reach the shingle, Sutton happened to 
be on a part of the beach that became the 
scene of one of the most spectacular inci- 
dents of D Day. Shortly after the teams 
landed, a stranded ammunition ship was hit 
by an enemy shell and started a series of 
explosions that shook the area for hours. The 
first eruption caught Sutton and his men 
in a most exposed position, at arm's length 
of the holocaust. Fragments of steel rained 
down. The only protection was offered by 

a disabled truck on 
lack of something 
gathered under this 
made a juicy target 
tins. Within a few 
brought under fire, 
Crawled towards the 

the water's edge. For 

better, Sutton's team 

truck. Their presence 

for the gun at les Mou- 

minutes, the truck was 

Sutton and his men 

shingle without casual- 

Meanwhile Findlay's and Peyton's teams 
were doing what they could along the water 
line. It was disheartening in the extreme 
for these men to find themselves on the 
beach with nothing but a few morphine sy- 
rettes when their station should have been 
operating at capacity. But theirs was not 
to wonder why. Theirs was only to collect 
the wounded, to give first aid, and to shield 
themselves as far as that was possible. In 
this work T-4 Robert J, Smith distinguished 

Pillbox on the w*it tide *f E-l drew. Thit wai directly appetite the ene uud by Findlay and 
hii menu lr it now a bottle monument. 


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himself in such a way that he was later 
awarded the Silver Star. 

While these teams were thus engaged on 
the beach flat, a small reconnaissance part 
of the 61st Medical Battalion stumbled on 
the strong point on the east side of the E-l 
draw. This strong point had been taken 
earlier in the day by Company E of the 16th 
RCT in a surprise action that marked the 
first tactical success of D Day. The first 
section of this company had been able to 
reach the top of the bluff halfway between 
E-l and E-i by blowing a gap in the barbed 
wire entanglement above the shingle and 
working its way through a mine field, They 
encountered machine gun fire but over- 
powered the Germans and then turned west 
along the bluff until they came upon the 
strong point at E-l. The Germans were 
taken completely by surprise. In a hand-to- 
hand combat the Americans gradually oust- 
ed the Germans from the outworks but 
without heavy weapons they could make no 
progress against the concrete emplacement 
itself. They now called for support from 
the destroyers. The resulting barrage was 
so effective that the heavily reinforced walls 
of the blockhouse buckled. The German 
guns were knocked askew and rendered use- 
less. This finished the Germans. They 
raised the white flag and surrendered their 
position. Company "E" moved on to fresh 
victories and the blockhouse stood deserted 
until it was discovered by the men of the 
61st Medical Battalion later in the day. 

Thus, at H plus 10 there was finally es- 
tablished a place where casualties could be 
taken out of harm's way. The pillbox on 
Easy Red became the first medical installa- 
tion worthy of the name on Omaha Beach 
and it continued as the only one of its kind 
until well into the next day. Even so, it 
was little more than a shelter of the most 
primitive sort and equipment was wholly 
lacking. There were only four walls and a 

roof and the litter haul from the beach was 
a gruelling journey for the strongest men. 
Inside, the little space was quickly taken 
up. Enemy equipment and stacks of shells 
became intermingled with heaps of GI cloth- 
ing and discarded weapons. Helmets, boots, 
splints, jackets, and rifles lay next to the 
personal belongings of the German gun- 
crew. As the casualties accumulated they 
were placed wherever there was room: on 
litters, on blankets, or directly on the cement 
floor. They lay there for the most part very 
still. Some had crude splints. Others had 
bulky, bloody dressings. But the majority 
had neither splints nor dressings. Their 
wounds were covered with layers of ill- 
smelling, gas-impregnated clothes and heavy, 
sticky combat-jackets. The pillbox became 
the focal point of all the suffering of the 
invasion beach. 

The first teams to find their way to this 
spot were those of Findlay and Peyton and 
the first man to arrive was Captain Twarog. 
At this time the men of the 61st Medical 
Battalion were already snowed under. Day- 
light was quickly vanishing from the in- 
terior. In the semi-darkness, confusion be- 
came confounded. Prostrate forms were 
everywhere. Dead and dying lay next to 
those who still might live. To reach a litter 
in a far corner required sharp eyes, steady 
feet, and a strong stomach, The task of 
creating order was superhuman. 

Third Auxers felt sick at heart. With 
nothing but morphine, plasma, and dress- 
ings, how could they hope to do the job they 
were supposed to do? How could they treat 
patients with peritonitis, with fractured 
femurs, with deep chest wounds? Was this 
what they had been practicing for these 
many months? It all seemed utterly futile, 
frustrating, and fantastic. 

But such vacillations were only momen- 
tary. If the job could not be done according 
to the book, at least it might be done accord- 


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ing to a man's ability. With Findlay and 
Peyton in charge, Third Auxers set to. Care- 
fully and painstakingly, they moved from 
litter to litter. They examined every casual- 
ty, determined every injury, made every bit 
of equipment do double duty. They gave 
plasma, loosened tourniquets, strapped chest 
wounds. They even made up a priority list 
and selected the worst casualties for evac- 
uation to the beach and to England. It was 
precious little but it was something. 

At midnight, Findlay felt as if his back 
was broken and his head about to split. A 
fresh casualty had just been put down at the 
entrance. Findlay heard the rattling respira- 
tions and he knew that he had to act quickly. 
He hurried over, knelt down, and helped the 
man cough up the fluid that was drowning 
him. Then he discovered the cause of the 
trouble: a sucking wound of the chest; He 
had no vaseline gauze but he had a large 
battle dressing and he covered the wound 
with that. He inserted a needle in the man's 
chest and allowed the excess air to escape. 
Then he called for plasma. 

The procedure for giving the plasma 
called for four assistants. Two men held a 
blanket across the exit, the third man han- 
dled the lantern, and the fourth one manip- 
ulated the bottle. With perspiration rolling 
off his back, Findlay felt for the patient's 
veins. Slowly he advanced the needle, first 
one way then another. This was the hardest 
venapuncture he had ever done. 

Out of the stillness of the night came 
the roar of distant engines. The roar inten- 
sified with that peculiar wavering intensity 
of the German Messerschmitt, There were 
two explosions near the water*s edge. Then 
the roar became deafening and one of the 
planes dropped a bomb almost at the block- 
house door. The blast knocked Findlay off 
his feet and sent great clouds of sand bil- 
lowing into the pillbox. The wounded 
moaned. The medics cursed. Plasma bottles 

were upset, sand seeped under dressings, 
blankets were blown away. In the Stygian 
darkness of that man-made catacomb, men 
were sorely tried and order was not re- 
established until another dawn. Such was 
D Day for the teams on Easy Red. 

The Teams of 
Majors Campbell, Reiter, Hurwitz, 

and Williams 
On the night of D Day, six of the twenty 
teams in the invasion force were still at 
sea. Of these six, two were merely biding 
time off Utah but four were champing at 
the bit off Omaha, waylaid in their every 
attempt to make a landfall. They were the 
teams attached to the 60th Medical Battalion 
who made the crossing on an LCT with a 
rhino-ferry in tow. 

Of all the various invasion craft, a rhino- 
ferry is least likely to inspire confidence. 
Designed solely for its carrying capacity, it 
is little more than a floating platform with 
maximum surface-area and minimum ma- 
neuverability. It has no armor, no guns, 
and few comforts. It is, in fact, a sitting 
duck. When Third Auxers boarded this 
modern ark, they nudged each other: "Well, 
we may be slow- motion but at least we won't 
go in until the beach is thoroughly safe." 
They were soon to find out how wrong they 

If trouble loomed ahead, at least the Third 
Auxers would share it with others: personnel 
of the 364th Clearing Company, elements 
of the 29th Division, and a miscellany of 
other units. The men ensconced themselves 
as best they could between the trucks and 
dozers. At H Hour, two small engines at 
the stern began the laborious task of push- 
ing the box through thirteen miles of rough 

Progress was slow. The wind kicked up 
a heavy swell, and the rhino, with only two 


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feet of freeboard, was definitely no rough- 
water craft. Spray came thick and fast. 
Everybody got soaked. The journey from 
the Transport Area to the Line of Departure 
took a full four hours. 

The destination was Dog White. This 
sector had been penetrated by elements of 
the 1 16th Regimental Combat Team but at 
H plus 4 it was under constant fire, Land- 
ing heavy equipment was out of the ques- 
tion. Third Auxers could see what was tak- 
ing place and they were not entirely disap- 
pointed when the rhino eased to a stop. In 
a fight between a rhino and an 88, the rhino 
would certainly come off second best. 

At H plus 6, word came down: "Proceed 
to Dog White/' 

The engines sputtered into action. The 
men buttoned up their coats. Slowly the 
beach came nearer, 

"What a crate/* said Campbell to a fel- 
low passenger, *'I bet we aren't even doing 
three knots. How can those Krauts possibly 
miss us?" 

"Well, the batteries are supposed to be out 
of action now, aren't they?" was the feeble 

"Supposed to be! A lot of things are sup- 
posed to be going on today. But arc they?" 

Campbell's fears were well founded. Two 
shells burst over the rhino, one to starboard 
and one to port. In the silence that followed 
came cries for help. Rciter clambered down 
from a truck, 

"Where are you hurt, son? 1 * 

"Here, sir/' was the answer. The man 
pointed to his groin. 

*'Okay, fellow. Just take it easy," 

Quickly Reitcr cut away the man's 
clothes. There it was. A deep wound of the 
groin with an injury to the underlying blood 
vessels. Good heavens! It couldn't be worse. 
Rciter shoved his thumb on the little foun- 
tain of blood. 

It was impossible to move the man under 
such conditions. He would have bled to 
death. The surgery had to be done then and 
there, Mitcham brought up hemostats. 
Reiter went to work. With a few deft mo- 
tions, he exposed the bleeding artery, placed 
his hemostats. and tied the ligature. It was 
a feat that called for coolness, precision, and 
luck. Reiter had all three and his patient 
lived to see another day. 

Meanwhile the rhino had come to a halt 
fifty yards from the beach in water that was 
too deep to use the ramp. A run through 
the turbulent surf would certainly mean 
further hits. Could the rhino take it? The 
ensign thought no. He ordered the ramp 
down in the hope that the chains would hold. 

Every man aboard was holding his breath. 
A captain of the engineers motioned for the 
first dozer to advance. Engine roaring, the 
machine started up. It reached the ramp. 
The inch-thick chains tightened, crunched, 
and snapped. The ramp gave way. The jug- 
gernaut pitched forward into the pounding 
waves, nose buried in the water, rear sus- 
pended on the rhino. The driver jumped 
for his life. 

Third Auxers were at a loss. Should they 
try to reach the shore or should they stick 
with the rhino? Before they could make up 
their minds, the ensign threw his engine into 
reverse. For a moment there was a struggle 
between the tugging rhino and the sagging 
dozer. The rhino won and the dozer came 
to rest in its watery grave. 

""What are we going to do?" asked Hur- 
witz of the ensign. 

"Get back into open water/ 1 was the an- 

"Can we try again without our ramp?" 
"No use. We'd only drown these dozers." 
The ensign knew his business. He maneu- 
vered his craft around obstacles, past the 
wreck of an LCT, and back towards the 
open sea. But before he could carry out his 


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intention of transferring his cargo to a more 
seaworthy vessel, he was accosted by another 
control ship. 

"Rhino-ferry, rhino-ferry! Proceed to 
Dog Red." 

"I've lost my ramp!" 

"Proceed to Dog Red! Proceed to Dog 

The ensign shrugged his shoulders* 
11 Wouldn't you know it?" he remarked to 
Hurwitz. "Some joker thinks he's smart. 
Well, I won f t argue with him," And with 
that, he swung the rhino into a wide arc* 

At Dog Red, trouble of another sort was 
waiting. On its agonizingly slow approach 
to the beach, the rhino tangled with an un- 
der-water obstacle. Nobody saw it. But 
everybody knew it* There was a scraping 
sound and the starboard engine was ripped 

A rhino-ferry is a difficult craft to man- 
age, even with both engines going. It has an 
awkward shape, disproportionate bulk, and 
very little draft. With one engine gone, the 
odds were overwhelming. Another rhino 
blocked its path. A strong current clawed 
at its broadside. Gradually the monster went 
into a side-slip. No matter how the ensign 
tried, he could not keep the vessel straight. 
Pounded by the waves, whipped by the wind, 
and deflected by the current, the rhino slow- 
ly drifted towards the east. The situation 
was beyond retrieving. 

Then, the other rhino made its bid. Third 
Auxers watched intently. As soon as the 
ramp came down, shells began to hit. It was 

all done very methodically* Every vehicle 
became a target as soon as it reached the 
beach. Not one escaped. It was a devastat- 
ing spectacle and Third Auxers could only 
thank their lucky stars that their own rhino 
was hors de combat. 

The Third Aux rhino was no longer sea- 
worthy. It started working its way out of 
the surf* Shells and obstacles barred the way 
repeatedly and the whole process lasted well 
over an hour. Finally it reached open water. 
As it limped its way past one of the control 
vessels, there came yet another shouted com- 
mand, a command that summed up the wis- 
dom of the moment in masterful fashion: 
"Rhino-ferry, rhino-ferry, return to sea!" 

There is an old sayings that a man is not a 
soldier until he has heard the boom of guns 
and smelted the blood of his buddies. The 
Third Auxers on the rhino-ferry had done 
both. They had been punished by shell fire 
and they had seen their shipmates struck 
down, D Day had made soldiers of them, 
soldiers in the hardest kind of battle: a losing 
battle. Wet, sick, and exhausted, they lay 
down on the dozers. 

On the night of D Day Omaha Beach 
was a place of horror to the Third Auxers. 
To Serbst and his men, it was a miserable 
anti-tank ditch. To Peyton and Findlay 
and their men, it was a bombed pillbox. To 
Sutton* Stoller, Meyers, Church, and Hig- 
ginbotham, and their men, it was a wretched 
foxhole* To Campbell, Reiter, Hurwitz, 
Williams, and their men, it was a strip of 
beach where everything had been wiped out. 
These Third Auxers saw only total defeat. 

Rhino ferry earning In ot Dog Red. In th* background, let Moulini. 



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But they were wrong. Actually, the ground- 
work for victory had been laid. How had it 
been done? 

It had been done by the bounce and drive 
of the American troops. These troops had 
not been stopped by the fierce opposition. 
They had only been slowed. True, the losses 
on the beach were much greater than ex- 
pected and the heavy equipment had floun- 
dered. But by noon of D Day, isolated 
groups were roaming the country beyond the 
beach and these groups met only scattered, 
disorganized, piecemeal resistance. If the 
Germans had shown the same fighting spirit 
as in the beginning of the war, things might 
have been quite different. A single battalion 
at Colleville at noon of D Day could have 
pushed the Americans back into the sea. A 
single company of tanks at St, Laurent could 
have made the beachhead untenable, But the 
Germans lacked aerial observation to deter- 
mine these critical points and they had to 
be content with a heavy bombardment of 
the beach and with small-scale counterat- 
tacks in the interior. 

By night of D Day the essential elements 
of five regiments were ashore and these ele- 
ments were everywhere on the offensive. 
They had infiltrated St, Laurent, surround- 
ed Colleville, and by-passed Vierviile. They 
had silenced the strong points covering the 
beach and they had fought to victory at 
Pointe du Hoe. Thus the stage was set for 
the follow-up. 

Medically the situation was extremely 
precarious however. On the night of D 
Day when the clearing stations should have 
been in full operation there were only a 
few scattered first-aid posts on all of Omaha. 
One of these was the pillbox on Easy Red, 
Another was the anti-tank ditch on Easy 
Green. Still another was at the les Moulins 
draw. Here a small group of personnel of 
the 60th Medical Battalion gathered late in 
the afternoon, after having battled heavy 

odds on the western part of the beach. As 
early as H plus 2 l / 2 an officer and an enlisted 
man from this battalion had landed near 
the D-5 exit. They did not get beyond the 
sea wall. Later they stumbled on to a jeep 
with plasma and established a collecting 
point nearby. At H plus 4 an LCT came in 
at this point and the two medics, aided by 
members of a Navy demolition squad, were 
able to place about thirty casualties aboard. 
It was the only evacuation until nighttime. 

At H plus 8 three officers and twenty-five 
enlisted tnen of the 60th Medical Battalion 
landed on Easy Green. They made their 
way to Serbst's antt-tank ditch and helped 
with the work there. At about the same 
time a truck of the 634th Clearing Station 
made a landfall. It carried tents, sterile 
linen, instruments, and a small amount of 
plasma, litters, and blankets. This truck 
became immobilized on the D-3 exit because 
of heavy fighting near St. Laurent, Its oc- 
cupants retreated to a demolished house 
nearby and set up a first-aid post where they 
treated about fifty casualties that night. 
This was the only truck of all the beach 
clearing stations to come ashore on D Day. 
It was to play an important part in the de- 
velopments of the next day. 

Morning of D plus 1 dawned dank, drab, 
and dreary. The men in the foxholes were 
so cold they could hardly stir. The men in 
the anti-tank ditch peered over their ram- 
parts. The men in the pillbox tried to create 
order. The next step was up to the men on 
the rhino. 

At seven o'clock the teams of Campbell, 
Williams, and Reiter transferred to an 
LCVP (Hurwitz and his men followed two 
hours later), 

"Thank God we're off," said Williams, 
"That rhino was nothing but bad news. 
Hope I never see another,*' 

"Well, this tub isn't everything either/* 
was Sapienza's comforting reply. "At least, 


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the rhino had a reverse. This thing cm only 
go forward or sink." 

The words were prophetic. At two hun- 
dred yards, the LCVP struck an under- 
water obstacle. The Third Auxers heard an 
ominous ripping sound, A big gash ap- 
peared in the bottom of the boat. Water 
gushed in. The Third Auxers jumped out- 
The LCVP slowly sank. 

The water at this point was five feet deep, 
too deep for a man of Hillman's stature. 
Weighted down with pounds and pounds of 
equipment, Hillman leaped, splashed fran- 
tically, and disappeared. A stream of air 
bubbles marked the spot. 

Help was not far away. Sapienza, a lean 
six-footer with plenty of brawn, reached 
out and grabbed Hillman by the seat of the 
pants. "Steady, Joe!" were his words as he 
pushed his half-drowned teammate towards 
shallow water. One Third Auxer saved an- 

Easy Green at eight o'clock on D plus 1 
was very much as it had been all through 
D Day with the exception that shelling was 
now sporadic. Wrecked equipment littered 
the beach. Here and there, a lone soldier 
struggled towards the top of the bluff. There 
was no organized activity and there was no 
way for the Third Auxers to tell where they 
were. All their personal equipment was lost 
in the surf. The men were drenched, winded, 
and weak, and they felt utterly whipped. 
In this impasse, they decided to cross the 
tidal flat and look for clues. 

The first thing they came to was the anti- 
tank ditch where Serbst was wearily direct- 
ing the rescue work. The men practically 
embraced each other. For a brief moment 
they fell to talking about their experiences. 
Then they faced realities. 

"There is not much you can do here/' said 
Serbst. "The 1st Division medics are trying 
to set up a station on the bluff. Maybe you 

can help them, I haven't seen a sign of our 

own stations yet." 

"Well, let's go up and see," said Campbell* 
"Go ahead. But stick to the bluff. The 
draw isn't safe yet," said Serbst. 

The teams split. Williams and Campbell 
took their men up the bluff, Reiter decided 
on a reconnaissance of his own. 

The 1st Division medics had landed on 
Easy Green the night before. Since there 
still was no definite front, they had decided 
to stay on the beach and to erect their tents 
on the bluff overlooking the E- J draw. When 
Campbell and Williams and their men ap- 
peared on the scene, the tents were just go- 
ing up. Equipment was scattered on the 
ground. Casualties were beginning to ar- 
rive. Officers were trying to figure out how 
to make a hospital out of their station. 
(Division clearing stations did not have the 
special issue of equipment that had been 
given to the beach clearing stations.) 

The Third Auxers rolled up their sleeves. 
If there was no equipment, they would im- 
provise it. Autoclaves? They would boil the 
linens. Anesthesia machines? They would 
make one. Instruments? They would get 
along with half a set. Skin drapes? They 
would use bath towels. They patched and 
they mended and they made do. At noon, the 
station was declared open and Third Auxers 
went to work. It was the first major surgery 
on the beachhead. 

While these two teams were thus getting 
under way, Reiter decided on an attempt to 
find the 634th Clearing Company. He knew 
that some of the personnel had come ashore 
and he also knew that one of the trucks was 
near les Moulins. His job was to locate this 
truck. The map told him that his position 
was east of the D-3 draw. The 634th was 
supposed to set up west of the draw. Serbst 
had warned him that the draw itself was not 
safe. Reiter took his men inland, hoping to 
find a place where he could cross, 


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His path led over open country. The 
terrain here was unfavorable to the defense 
and the Germans had built no fortifications. 
From the beach to the head of the draw was 
barely half a mile. Before long Reiter found 
himself looking down on a cluster of houses 
that was St. Laurent. 

There was little to be seen, St. Laurent 
had been entered by troops of the 116th 
Regimental Combat Team on the night of 
D Day but Germans had re-entered the vil- 
lage during the night and on the morning 
of D plus 1 the battle was in full swing. 
There were no noisy barrages or spectacular 
charges however. The Americans proceeded 
methodically. Each house harboring Ger- 
mans was brought under concentrated small 
arms fire until it could be rushed. The pro- 
ceedings were more apparent to the ear than 
to the eye and a man could wander down 
the main street without seeing either friend 
or foe. 

Thus it was that the battle engulfed the 
Third Auxers without the slightest warning. 
One moment they were walking along the 
road, the next moment they were caught in 
a cross-fire that singed their ears. Every man 
acted according to his individual impulse 
and resourcefulness. Some froze where they 
were. Some crawled to the ditch, Some 
looked for weapons. Some were pinned 
down. Some found their way back to the 
beach. The net result was that the team 

Reiter and Mitcham had dived for the 
same ditch. As soon as the firing subsided, 
they held council. Obviously, their effort 
to reach the west side of the draw was pre- 
mature. An Infantryman told them that 
the Germans continued heavy resistance at 
the crossroads southwest of the village. The 
only avenue open was the draw itself. It 
was exposed terrain which came under spo- 
radic fire from German marauders along the 
bluff. But there was no choice. Reiter and 

Mitcham decided to take a chance, fully 
aware of the dangers. They simply had to 
find the lost truck. 

They disentangled themselves from the 
melee at St, Laurent and started towards the 
beach, moving a few hundred feet at a time. 
When they had gone about halfway, they 
became aware of a figure coming up the 
draw. The Third Auxers sought cover. Sud- 
denly it dawned on them that this was Major 
Bauer, the Commanding Officer of the 
634th. The men greeted each other with 
boundless enthusiasm. 

"But where is the truck?" was Reiter's 
first question. 

"Can't find any sign of it," was the an- 
swer, "I've been everywhere except down 
there .,,■*' And Bauer pointed over his 
shoulder towards les Moulins. 

"Well, if that's where it is, let's go find it.*' 

The three men started out. They kept a 
sharp lookout, both for trucks and for 
snipers. And their fearlessness was reward- 
ed. On the outskirts of les Moulins, they 
saw it: a big six-by-six with a large red cross. 
It stood there quite unmolested, just as it 
had been driven ashore the previous day. 

Reiter jumped a foot. Here was what he 
had risked his life for! But why had the 
truck been left here? Where was the driver? 
What had become of the rest of the com- 
pany? The answer was not long in forth- 

"Major! Please come over. We need you." 
The voice came from a half-destroyed house 
across the road. Reiter and Mitcham dashed 

There was no question that help was need- 
ed here. Nominally, les Moulins was in 
American hands but actually it was full of 
German snipers. They were ensconced main- 
ly in the houses but also in some of the 
trenches which they had rc-occupied during 
the night. Passing troops had suffered heav- 
ily and there were several dozen casualties. 


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Reiter*s first thought was to go back to the 
truck and get the supplies. 

"Don't cross that road, Major, The last 
man who tried it was shot," 

"Shot? I don't see any Krauts/' 

"They are everywhere. That house is full 
of them," And the sergeant pointed to a 
house at the intersection. "They shoot even 
though they know that we are trying to 
take care of these casualties," 

"The bastards?" 

Reiter and Bauer looked at each other. 
Two immediate tasks confronted them. One 
was to start first aid for the casualties. The 
other was to gain possession of the truck. 
Reiter volunteered for the more hazardous 
of the two: "I'll stay here. You see if you 
can drive the truck away, Bauer." 

Without losing a minute, Reiter went to 
work. The first casualty he examined was 
a man with a badly injured leg. The fellow 
had propped himself up on his elbows and 
was scanning the vicinity, gun in hand. 

"Put that gun down, fellow," said Reiter* 
"You are through for a while." 

"Yes sir. But there is a sniper up there and 
I think I can get htm/' 

"Well, hold your horses until I can exam- 
ine you." And with those words Reiter start- 
ed cutting through the layers of clothing 
to expose the damage. For a moment, all 
he could see was that leg. Then there was a 
terrific blast right under his nose. It almost 
bowled him over. 

"What the hell!!" 

"I got him, Major. Do you see that win- 
dow? That's where he was! I got him!" 

"Sergeant, you put that gun down or I 
won't take care of you," said Reiter with 
admirable restraint. Then he straightened 
up. "Everybody put his gun down, This is 
a first-aid post. The first man who fires will 
be pitched out." 

But the men were so keyed up that Reiter's 

words had little effect. The Germans kept 
on firing. The Americans fired back. Bullets 
richocheted everywhere. Twice, men who 
.had already been wounded were struck 
again. Each time the volume of counter- 
fire built up to a regular volley. Here was a 
first-aid station that also served as observa- 
tion post, firing line, and sniper trap* There 
were no rear areas on Omaha Beach. 

Reiter and Mitcham paid no heed. While 
the battle was going on around them, they 
went from one casualty to the next, dress* 
ing wounds, staunching hemorrhage, and 
giving morphine. They acted only accord- 
ing to the dictates of their consciences and 
they gave a fine display of courage in the 
face of great physical danger. If any Third 
Auxers deserve that medal for service "above 
and beyond the call of duty," it is these two. 

^Mf llim 

l J] WMr 

If B. 


• fc, iU 

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■w -*■■ -*» j^*neeeeeee^^2 




: '1| 


; , 


Lei Moulini. It wai in thii trench that Reiter 
tended coiualtiet white the battle raged. 


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Meanwhile Bauer had sneaked across the 
road and started the truck. He was lucky. 
The Germans ignored him and he drove off 
in the only available direction, straight up 
the draw. He went halfway to St, Laurent, 
drove the truck off the road, and selected a 
point for the station. Gradually he gath- 
ered up his men. The truck was unloaded, 
A tent was pitched. A second truck arrived. 
More equipment came in. The other mem- 
bers of Reiter*s team found their way down 
from St, Laurent, Casualties were brought 
in, Reiter and Mitcham were able to join 
the station. Hurwitz's team landed and 
made its way to the area. Word spread. And 
at six o'clock, the 614th proudly opened its 
doors. It was the first beach clearing station 
to go into operation and the second place on 

Omaha where surgery was being done. 
Things were looking up. 

The over-all medical situation remained 
ominous however. Except for the 634th, 
the beach clearing stations were stalled. 
Third Auxers were either immobilized by 
sniper fire or scattered in a futile search for 
their trucks. First-priority casualties were 
still going back to England instead of re* 
cCiving care on the beachhead. And the six 
relief-teams of the Fourth Aux were being 
detained off-shore because of the general de- 
lay in the landings. 

Tactically, the situation on D plus 1 im- 
proved. On the eastern subsector, the 1st 
Division extended its perimeter for a full 
three miles. In the western subsector, the 
29th Division did not go quite so fast but it 

Major Reiter's from Standing: Torrade, Hapman, Smaial, R*ft«r. Squatting- Mir<hom, Ptluto, 

Andtnon, Schmidt* 


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did reach Pointe du Hoe where the Rangers 
had gained their first foothold. The total 
length of the beachhead was now eight 
miles, its depth two miles- The beach was 
ready for heavy equipment. The enemy 
was still at a loss where to strike back. 

D plus 2 saw the opening of two of the 
three beach clearing stations of the 61st 
Medical Battalion. The >95rd set up on a 
site 800 yards inland from Easy Green and 
went into operation at six in the evening 
with the teams of Stoller and Meyers. The 
391st set up inland from Easy Red and went 
into operation at almost the same time with 
the teams of Serbst, Peyton, Findlay, and 

D plus 2 also brought a very welcome 
shipment of Fourth Aux teams. There were 
six of them and they went to work at the 
existing stations forthwith. The same ship 
that delivered these teams also put two rank- 
ing medical officers ashore: Colonel Rogers 
and Colonel Crisler. They immediately sur- 
veyed the situation and laid plans for the 
time when Army would take over. Parts 
of the lith and of the 51st Field Hospitals 
also landed, but not in sufficient numbers to 
go into operation. The beachhead now 
stretched twenty miles in an east-west direc- 
tion and three to five miles inland. The beach 
was nearly clear of debris and was no longer 
under observed artillery fire, A lateral road 
running the length of the beach was rapidly 
nearing completion and many exit roads had 
been built across the tidal flat. Ammunition 
began to arrive. Reinforcements poured in. 

On D plus 3, the 392nd went into oper- 
ation inland from Fox Green. It opened at 
eight o'clock in the evening with the teams 
of Church and Higginbotham. The 1st Di- 
vision Clearing Station now vacated its site 
and moved inland. Field hospitals continued 
to land personnel but were still unable to set 
up for lack of equipment- The beachhead 
continued to expand. Troops reached the 

railroad tracks from Bayeau to St. Lo in 

several places. 

On D plus 4, all the beach clearing sta- 
tions were under way. One platoon of the 
13 th Field Hospital set up near Colleville. 
The first air evacuation took place from a 
strip near the 393rd. Blood began to arrive 
from England. Third Auxers quickly be- 
came battle-hardened veterans. 

The heaviest fighting on Omaha took 
place during the first four days. After that, 
the Germans realized that the main threat 
lay in the Utah sector and they shifted their 
troops in that direction. Omaha now settled 
down to a holding action. The 1st Division 
was deployed in the east; the 2nd Division, 
which had begun landing on D plus 1, was 
in the center; and the 29th Division expand- 
ed westward until it effected a junction with 
the Utah forces. 

On D plus 5, First Army became oper- 
ational and Colonel Crisler began shifting 
the teams from the clearing stations to the 
field hospitals. This transfer continued for 
the next few days until the normal chain of 
evacuation was established* 

It was on D plus 5 that the Third Aux 
suffered its only fatality. T-5 John Malone 
was a Third Aux clerk who had been loaned 
to the Hst Field Hospital. He landed with 
that unit on D plus 2 and was last seen alive 
at two o'clock in the afternoon on D plus 5. 
A full investigation of his disappearance was 
made later but the true facts have never been 
revealed. The report of the examing board 

"John H, Malone was on temporary duty 
with the 51st Field Hospital and met his 
death presumably on 1 1 June, As far as can 
be determined he was not ordered to leave 
the area on any mission or detail and no one 
knows where he went or why. Following 


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his failure to return, an unsuccessful search 
was made and a casualty message was sub- 
mitted to the Commanding General of the 
ETO stating only that he was missing in 
action. During the ensuing investigation, 
the 51st Field Hospital Adjutant visited the 
various cemeteries and inquired at the Graves 
Registration Office, On 16 July he discov- 
ered a burial report dated 29 June and indi- 
cating that the missing soldier had been 
buried in the First Army cemetery in the St, 
Laurent sector. 

The next day the First Sergeant of the 
Third Auxiliary Group was sent to visit the 
cemetery in an attempt to learn more about 
his death. The burial report indicated that 
he had been buried at 1 0; 30 AM on 2 J June 
in Grave 148, Row 8, Plot H. One tag had 
been interred with the remains and the other 
attached to the marker on the grave. No 
report could be obtained from the Graves 
Registration Officer concerning the place 
where the body was found and no medical 
reports or emergency medical tag could be 
found to indicate the presence of any 
wounds or injuries which might have caused 
his death. 

The cause of death could not be deter- 
mined but was believed to be enemy action 
inasmuch as the area contained numerous 
land mines and was still blanketed by anti- 
aircraft fire. Enemy snipers were also known 
to be active in the vicinity. Owing to the 
tactical situation and the great confusion 
of troops moving through the area, it was 
extremely difficult to trace his movements 
immediately preceding death. In the absence 
of any positive factual information, it was 
held by the investigating board that John 
H. Malone died in line of duty/' 

While John Malone thus took his story 
to his grave with him, other Third Auxers 

lived to tell theirs. There was pathos and 
bathos, drama and trivia, the sublime and 
the ridiculous. Let Major Campbell speak. 

"It happened on D plus 3 at the 634th, I 
was trying to triage a fresh batch of casual- 
ties when I spotted an infantry colonel with 
a gunshot wound of the abdomen. 

'How come. Colonel?' I said. *I always 
thought that a man of your rank played it 

'Damndest thing in the world/ he said. 
'We were advancing on the railroad tracks 
west of Bayeux. The Krauts were dug in 
solid. They had us stopped cold, I couldn't 
get my men to budge, I couldn't even get 
the battalion commanders to budge. I fig- 
ured that we just had to get across those 
tracks. After all, the Army had paid me 
for twenty years to do this one thing. If I 
flunked now I was a dud. So I blew my 
whistle, I shouted for the men to follow me. 
And I jumped up. Do you know how far I 
got? Three steps! ! Just three steps!! That's 
all I have contributed to this battle. And it 
took me twenty years to do that! Disgust- 
ing, isn't it? Do you think I'll make it?' 

I examined him. He had been hit by two 
bullets, both in the abdomen. Within half 
an hour I had him on the table. When I got 
in there I could see that I was in for a rough 
deal. Blood, pus, and corruption. I started 
cleaning up. 

Just then I heard someone shout GAS! 
What a spot to have a gas attack, I looked 
around. If I stopped now, the colonel was 
a goner. So I kept working. Then someone 
else shouted GAS! We all broke out in a 
cold sweat. 

Netz tried to be facetious about it: 'You 
know, the only fellow who is safe here is 
the patient. He's already got his mask on. 
But what about the rest of us?* I still 


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couldn't make up my mind. Then the gas 
alarm sounded. That was too much. After 
all, if I died at my post, the patient would 
die too. So he did not have much to lose. 
We just had to get out of there and get our 
masks. Then, I had a sudden sinking spell. 
We had left our masks in the pup tents, 
two hundred yards away! Damnation! 

'Give me a towel/ I said. I put the guts 
back in the abdomen and draped the towel 
over them. I ripped off my gloves. 'Every- 
body get his mask/ I shouted. 'On the 

You should have seen us. Over the rutted 
field, past the motor pool, across the fox- 
holes we dashed. It was a great sprint but 
it thoroughly winded us. 

Did you ever try to unroll a 50-pound 
bedding roll when the smell of gas is already 
in your nostrils? Well, we did. And we 
set a record. But to put that mask on while 
we were panting was out of the question. 
We struggled back, mask in hand, tongue 
hanging out. What a rat race. 

Back at the operating tent, the scene be- 
came even more ludicrous. One man had 
brought not only his mask but also his gas- 
protective clothing and he proceeded to 
make a complete change on the spot. An- 
other man began to rub his face with that 
special ointment. Somebody else squatted 
under his gas cape and tried to carry on 
that way. Nobody knew just what to do, 
least of all myself. 

I put my mask on but forgot to wipe the 
lenses. Then I scrubbed, got into my gloves, 
and returned to the litter. The colonel was 
just as I had left him. Hadn't even stirred. 
I threw the towel off and tried to see. Tried 
to! It was like looking at London through 
the fog, My glasses were all steamed up. 
And here I was with my gloves on. Couldn't 
do anything about it. Well, it turned out 
that I had to take out three feet of gut. 
That was the hardest operation I ever did. 
Just muddled my way through. And then, 
as I was finishing, the CO came in dead-pan 

Omaha an D ptuf 3, Thlt ikawi a wall-organised exit rood. 


and said: 'Never mind, boys. Somebody 
made a mistake !' 

The patient? Ic was Colonel McKinley 
of the 1st Division and he got well without 
a hitch." 

Other Third Auxers could match this 
story but it is impossible to do them all 
justice. Enough has been said to paint the 
picture. The beachheads were a place of 
dire peril and cruel disappointments. Third 
Auxers tasted them all. They toiled, they 
forged, and they accomplished. Just how 
much they accomplished can only be hint- 
ed at. 

The statistical summary which is present- 
ed in the last chapter shows that Third Aux- 
ers operated on almost nine hundred casual- 
ties during that first critical week. This 
figure does not tell the full story however. 
It refers only to actual operations and says 
nothing about the triage, the resuscitative 
work, and the innumerable on-the-spot 
measures that often meant the difference 
between life and death. Neither does the 
figure bring out the fearsome conditions un- 

der which the work had to be done. In spite 
of all the preparations, surgeons still had 
to cope with inadequate equipment, anes- 
thetists with improvised apparatus, and tech- 
nicians with back-breaking labor* To give 
only one example. There were no fracture 
tables in the clearing stations. Hip spicas 
were put on with the patient supported on 
a bucket. Anyone who has tried it knows 
the physical labor involved. 

These nine hundred casualties may not 
seem like a great many, but, in a way, they 
are the crowning achievement of the Group 
because they were for the most part pure 
salvage. Suddenly, the Third Aux paid off. 
Suddenly, it became the mainstay. Sudden- 
ly, it became a vital group of forward sur- 
geons. The transformation was fantastic 
and it left many Third Auxers speechless. 

For their work on the beach, ten Third 
Auxers received the Purple Heart, two the 
Silver Star, and sixty-nine the Bronze Star. 
These were the official rewards. The inner 
rewards are quite beyond expression. They 
are the inalienable property of every man 
who was there. Every Third Auxer knows 
that he was a vital link and he is both proud 
and humble. He helped make history. 

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The Normandy campaign went through 
three stages : the capture of Cherbourg, the 
build-up, and the break-through. Then 
followed the triumphant dash to the Ger- 
man border and weary stalemate at the Sieg- 
fried Line. The Third Aux was never far 
from the center of gravity. 

The Drive for Cherbourg 
After the junction of the beachheads, the 
next objective was to seal the Cotentin 
peninsula and to seize Cherbourg. It took 
just two weeks. 

First, the southern flank was made secure. 
Here, the 82nd Airborne was joined by the 
90th Division and the 9th Division. Prog- 
ress was slow until 15 June when the 82nd 
and the ?th attacked in a westward direc- 
tion and covered nearly 2, J 00 yards. The 
advance continued and on 18 June elements 
of the 9th reached the sea at Barneville sur 
Mer and St. Lo d'Ourville. The peninsula 
was cut off. The 82nd Airborne and the 
90th Infantry, together with the 101st Air- 
borne, now turned south to hold the line 
while VII Corps turned its attention to the 

On 18 June, three divisions jumped off 
for Cherbourg* The heaviest fighting took 
place around Montebourg and Valognes, 
towns that were completely destroyed in 
the process. Once these points were taken, 

the advance was rapid. The attack began 
on 22 June with a heavy aerial bombard- 
ment. The ancient fortifications were no 
match for the combined air-ground attack. 
On 2 5 June Cherbourg passed into Amer- 
ican hands. 

It was during this phase of the campaign 
that the last elements of the Third Aux 
arrived in Normandy. On 22 June the SS 
Empire Lance brought the ldng-awaited 
nurses, the two remaining teams* and the 
Headquarters Detachment, The Channel 
crossing started badly but ended well. Offi- 
cers and men were relegated to the hold 
where the air was foul, the bunks wretched, 
and the crowding frightful. The nurses, on 
the other hand, had been put up in the gym- 
nasium where they had plenty of fresh air, 
comfortable cots, and ample room* 

Gradually, the contingent in the hold be- 
gan to infiltrate the gymnasium. The nurses 
retreated to a corner, the others took over 
the main floor, and by morning the whole 
place had been converted into a coeduca- 
tional institution! Whereupon a very British 
major who observed the scene from a bal- 
cony inquired in utter astonishment: "I say 

do the Americans always live like 


The Empire Lance discharged its passen- 
gers on Omaha and the Third Aux went 
into a two-day bivouac at St, Laurent. Now 
came the time for the nurses to go into 
action. At this point, a departure from ac- 


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cepted procedure was made* Third Auxers 
felt that the nurses should work for the 
teams, rather than be farmed out on a hit- 
or-miss basis as they had been in the Medi- 
terranean Theater. Two courses lay open. 
The nurses could be attached to the teams 
or they could be attached to the field hos- 
pitals. Each plan had its advantages and 
disadvantages. Third Aux Headquarters de- 
cided to attach the nurses to the field hos- 
pitals. The reasoning was somewhat as fol- 

A field hospital handles only the first- 
priority casualties. In the table of organi- 

zation, this function was not provided for. 
A platoon with .a capacity of a hundred 
patients had only six nurses t Nurses work 
in shifts so that only three are available at 
any one time! Three nurses cannot do jus- 
tice to a hundred very ill surgical patients* 
Under the proposed plan, the Third Aux 
nurses would be part and parcel of the hos- 
pital staff and they could be used not only 
in the operating room but also in the post- 
operative wards. 

In the second place, the greatest nursing 
shortage was at the field hospital, rather than 
at the evacuation hospital. If nurses are at- 

Th« church at Carenton. 



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t ached to teams, they work at evacuation 
hospitals approximately twenty per cent of 
the time. The new plan made certain that 
all Third Aux nurses would be at the field 
hospitals all the time. 

And finally, a Third Aux nurse on perma- 
nent duty at a field hospital platoon would 
become thoroughly familiar with the equip- 
ment of that particular platoon. On per- 
manent status she could exercise more au- 
thority than she could on a here-today, gone- 
tomorrow basis. She would be a liaison agent 
between the team and the hospital nurses, 
Her whole position would be strengthened 
and her usefulness increased. 

As it worked out, the Third Aux nurses 
functioned chiefly as operating room super- 
visors* They taught the technicians to run 
the autoclaves, to prepare the patients, and 
to assist at the table. They were in charge 
of supplies and they were responsible for 
the instruments. One Third Aux nurse was 
usually on duty in the receiving tent and, 
if everything was going smoothly, another 
might be helping out on the postoperative 
ward. There was never any reason to regret 
this plan. 

"When the nurses arrived in Normandy, 
First Army had four field hospitals: the 13 th, 
the 42nd, the 45th, and the 51st, The 47th 
was attached towards the end of July and 
the 42 nd was detached after the Bulge. The 
initial assignments were as follows (the list 
is incomplete) : 

First Platoon: Maribel Dorton, Bunetta 
Bixby, Anne M. Bisignano, Dorothy Aird. 

Second Platoon: Evelyn T. Hanley, 
Isobel Johnson, Verine B. Nace, Virginia 

Third Platoon: Virginia F. Armbrus- 
ter, Geraldine Jones, Madalyn H, Andreko, 
Marcelle M. Johnson. 

FnisT Platoon: Betty Ferber, Mary 

Fedor, Grace V, Bayless, Marie V, Miller, 
Second Platoon: Flonnie Boone, 
Third Platoon: Ruth A. Maher, Evelyn 

J. Boesling, Esther Laden, Mary E. Asselin. 


First Platoon: Florence Grimes, Reba 
J, Green. 

Second Platoon: Marjorie A. Bruce, 
Joyce A. Walther, Irene Bovee, Gladys M, 

Third Platoon: Janet Snyder, Mary L. 
Ben ham, Louise V, Tomback, Mary H. Estes, 

First Platoon: Dorothy M, Dietrich, 
Retha Stoker, Lottie Meyers, Betty G, Ryan. 

Mojor McCaffertjr, Firtt Army Chief Nuri*, 


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Second Platoon: Florence Bestman, 
Mildred A. Radawiecz, Clara K, ^Patry, 
Helen D. Johnson. 

Third Platoon: S, Shirley Ralph, Edna 
M. Parker* Gertrude M. Trainor, Eleanor 
E. Bernick. 

Ann Kalosh, Norine Webster, Emma L 

Mary Mar sec, Mabel E. Jessop, Clara Hub' 
bard, Alberta Bleau. 

A field hospital platoon ordinarily set up 
in ten ward tents. At least four of these 
were laced together in the form of a cross. 

These four tents were the hub: receiving, 
x-ray and laboratory, operating, and post- 
operative. In this manner a casualty could 
be admitted, triaged, resuscitated, operated 
on, and followed up without having to move 
more than a few yards at a time, 

A receiving tent operating at capacity 
presented a unique spectacle. Casualties 
were delivered anywhere from one hour to 
several days after injury. The average was 
four to six hours. Contrary to what one 
might expect, these soldiers rarely made a 
noise, With the grime and dirt of the bat- 
tlefield still on their faces and in their 
wounds, they were preoccupied with what 
they were doing when they were struck* 
Some mumbled about the grenade or the 
shell or the booby trap that hit him. Others 

A fitld hospital from th* air. Nott Hw turottdtd croit of ward tanti. Thii photo woi token in Hollond. 


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lay quite still or groaned softly. Most were 
in shock- All took it for granted that they 
would recover. Hadn't they been told that 
only three per cent died? How fortunate 
that they did not know the facts. The over- 
all mortality did indeed run to about three 
per cent, but in the field hospital it was closer 
to twenty-five per cent. Often it went even 

Third Auxers quickly learned that field 
hospital casualties were of three kinds: one- 
third had abdominal injuries, another third 
had chest injuries, (often combined with 
abdominal injuries) , and the remaining third 
had severe extremity injuries- Combinations 
were common. In fact, about one-third of 
all casualties had multiple wounds, usually 
a desperate situation. 

In the dim light of a tent, one casualty 
looked like another. Actually, no two were 
alike. There was no telling what the wounds 
would show, once the bloody blankets had 
been discarded and the clumsy dressings cut 
away. There might be just one small punc- 
ture wound or there might be a hundred 
jagged lacerations. One man with a tiny 
perforation in the flank might be in pro- 
found shock while the next one with part 
of his intestines out on the abdomen would 
nonchalantly ask for a cigarette. 

When a Third Auxer recalls his expe- 
riences in the receiving tent, one or two 
incidents will probably stand out in sharp 
relief. Perhaps he will see the mortally 
wounded sergeant who used his last breath 
to say: "Please get me back to my platoon. 
There's nobody knows those boys like me." 
Perhaps he will see the raw recruit who 
pleaded: "Major, please take my leg off. I 
know it's no good," Perhaps he will see the 
fatally burned paratrooper who charged in- 
to a flame thrower to bayonet his attacker. 
Perhaps he will see the arrogant German 
feldwebel who clawed at his splints and spat 
at the nurse. Perhaps he will see the dis- 

The racimng lint of a field naipHal. Th«H 

casualties have not been trlogad y*t. 

Receiving tent. Reiuicrtation hat ttorted. 

Mory BtAhdm fix*t the linen for th* *p*r«t- 
ing tent. 

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The operating tint. 

3 ^ 

The postoperative tent wai a fantaitic sight. 
Picture token at the Sift Field Moipilal dur- 
ing the Bulge. 

Dorothy Henry and otiittanr do up tuppliei. 

ciplined grenadier who sat at attention when 
he was spoken to and keeled over dead two 
minutes later. A receiving tent showed 
human nature in the raw. 

Resuscitation was next. It involved every- 
thing from blood transfusions to bronchos- 
copy. Then came the diagnostic procedures, 
the x-rays, the catheterizations, the intuba- 
tions, everything that modern surgery de- 
mands, The technician took over a great 
many of these tasks. They learned quickly 
and they developed great skill. 

From the receiving ward the casualty 
went to the operating tent. Here, in a nar- 
row, rectangular space with sloping roof 
and muddy floor, the surgical team held 
forth. Conditions might be primitive but 
performance was superb. Two or three op- 
erating tables filled all available space. White 
liners hung from the canvas to improve the 
light and keep dirt from dropping on the 
wounds. Improvised reflectors cast their 
beams on the litters. The team distributed 
itself. Usually, the leader worked with the 
second assistant. The first assistant worked 
at the other table with a technician. The 
anesthetist went back and forth. At any 
time he might be called to the receiving tent 
for an emergency. In a civilian hospital, 
casualties of this sort would throw the re- 
ceiving room into uproar for hours. In the 
field hospital, they came in by the ambu- 
lance-load, not once a day but all day and 
all night. 

The postoperative tent too was a fantastic 
sight. Every cot was flanked by a pole 
with a bottle of glucose or blood. Some 
patients had chest tubes draining into water- 
seal bottles. Others had nasal tubes empty- 
ing into the field-version of a suction ap- 
paratus. Still others had bladder catheters 
or oxygen masks or plaster casts. Each pa- 
tient fought his own battle. The days were 
long, the nights were cold, the cots were 
hard, the comforts were meager. As long as 
there was work to do, Third Auxers did it. 

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1 1_ 

1 OJ 

A working day in a field hospital "was 
twelve hours, but the day was not over at 
the end of that. Many tasks remained. The 
main one was the postoperative care which 
took up several more hours* Paper work was 
another chore. Field hospital charts were 
necessarily brief but many Third Auxers in 
addition kept records of their own. The 
statistics that are presented in the last chap- 
ter are based on laborious tabulations that 
required a great deal of work. Third Auxers 
also spent much time improving their equip- 
ment, analyzing their experiences, and 
streamlining their routine. The field hos- 
pital was no place for a lazy man. 

Living conditions were primitive. During 
the first three weeks, everybody slept in pup 
tents. As long as the weather was dry and 
the sleeping bag intact, a pup tent was a 
home of a sort. But when the skies were 
wet, the ground became a sponge and no 
amount of practical hydraulics could keep 
the water out. It so happened that the sum- 
mer of 1944 was exceptionally wet. Third 
Auxers quickly learned to pitch their tent 
on a gentle slope and to ring it with a drain- 
age ditch. Provident characters pitched 
their tent over a foxhole to gain added pro- 
tection, but they spent most of their time 
bailing water and digging through the sand 
for lost articles. 

The pup tent era came to an end, at least 
for the officers, when Headquarters brought 
pyramidal tents. A pyramidal tent is still 
a long way from the comforts of home but 
at least it permits conversation and, some- 
times, even reading. Sometimes the hospital 
power plant could be tapped. Such refine- 
ments did not come until much later, how- 
ever. During the first months, a man de- 
pended upon his own wits for survival. 

At first everybody lived on K rations. 
Each ration consisted of a neat little carton 
containing a package of musty crackers, a 
chunk of acrid cheese, a brick of indigestible 

Phil Partington urrubl up. 

Coffin and Binter do the work while Joe 
Green look* on. Picture token ot first pla- 
toon, 45th Field Hospital, lo Hare du Puitt. 

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chocolate, an envelope with lemonade pow- 
der, and sometimes even a cigarette or two. 
These morsels allayed hunger pains for a few 
hours but were definitely no diet for 2 queasy 
stomach. After two such "meals/* the 
crackers tasted like yeast, the cheese like 
leather, and the lemonade . . . . . well, here 
is what one Third Auxer had to say: 

Without a daily shot of U C" 
The vitamin supreme, 
I guess our lives would only be 
A brief and sickly dream. 

Coffee's good, and choc 'late too, 
But lemonade's the stuff; 
If you want a solid brew, 
To make you rough and tough. 

Yes, C-borne lemonade's the thing 
To make you really fight. 
You'll battle fiercely through the day 
And double-pace at night. 

Don't throw away that package, chum, 
Don't sterilize your powder. 
With lemonade your fame will come 
As hero of the hour. 

No wonder that Third Auxers started 
bartering for the produce of the land at 
the first opportunity. Normandy is famous 
for its cheese, its eggs, and its cider. Many 
farmers also made a delicious kind of bread, 
in comparison with which the American 
article was just so much tasteless dough. 
With a little ingenuity and a handy gasoline 
stove, any Third Auxer who felt so inclined 
could appoint himself team-cook and serve 
a dinner to make his fellows forget all their 
worries. The chore might take all afternoon, 
but the results would be a topic of conver- 
sation for weeks. After the devastating 
week at St. La, Captain D'Allesandro gave 
a dinner party that would have done justice 
to any French chef. The menu ran all the 

way from potage a la Third Anx to frnifs 
et frontage. Although a newcomer, he im- 
mediately became the most valuable mem- 
ber of his team. 

It was at this time that Major Serbst en- 
deared himself to the entire staff of the 13th 
Field Hospital by his quick action at Brecy. 
One day Serbst was walking down the road 
in search of eggs or a rasher of bacon, when 
he came upon a farmer who was driving a 
heifer to pasture, a rare sight in those days. 
In spite of his limited knowledge of French, 
Serbst immediately entered into negotiations 
for the purchase of the heifer. After repeat- 
ed consultations with his dictionary, he fi- 
nally settled on the price of two thousand 
francs or about forty dollars. The farmer 
drove the animal to the hospital, received 
payment, and bowed out of the picture. 

The next day the animal was duly slaugh- 
tered, drawn, and quartered. Then came the 
break-through. No time for cooking. The 
carcass was thrown on a truck, the hospital 
packed up, and everybody concentrated on 
the dash for Paris. In this dash, the 13th 
Field Hospital moved ten times. At each 
bivouac the truck with the meat was either 
late in arriving or early in leaving. For 
weeks, Serbst did not even catch a glimpse 
of his property. In fact he forgot all about 
it. Finally the hospital was ordered to go 
into operation in the Belgian village of Ay- 
waille. By this time, the men were down to 
cold spam and the mess officer was in dire 
straits. Came time to unload and Lord be- 
hold, there was the carcass, still in a fair 
state of preservation. The mess crew sprung 
into action, the meat was prepared, and the 
entire hospital staff ate its fill of juicy, if 
slightly rancid, roast beef, Serbst's reputa- 
tion as an extra-curricular mess officer was 

Next to eating, the main problem in the 
field was keeping clean. Here, the helmet 
did yeoman duty and a man was not con- 
sidered full-fledged until he could shave his 


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whiskers, take a bath, and do his laundry, 
all out of the same helmet. Later, regular 
shower units appeared on the scene. These 
units would drive up, lay hose, heat water, 
install showers, put up screens, and be ready 
for the customers in less time than it takes 
to pitch a pup tent. Field hospitals, being 
farther towards the front than other hos- 
pitals, would see these units only occasion- 
ally. At such times word was quickly passed 
and the entire command would line up. 
Nurses took their turn. Most of them lost 
their enthusiasm for this al fresco showering 
however, when they realized that they were 
the objects of careful aerial observation by 
the cub plane pilots who would fly over, 
law and slow! 

This indiscretion was mild compared 
with what happened later to some of the 
nurses who were bivouacked with the 102nd 
Evacuation Hospital in Huy during the 
Bulge. The hospital had set up in a school 
building which had a regular shower in- 
stallation, Showers were as scarce as hen's 
teeth in those days* Many officers who were 

Rusticating in Normandy : Boyd en, Floyd, 
Chadwcll, Janes, Shepherd, Frmtera, Sutton, 

traveling through Huy took advantage of 
the facilities at the 102nd. One of these (a 
Third Auxer whose name will be withheld) 
was in such a hurry that he neglected to 
consult the bathing schedule. Without the 
slightest notion of what he was getting into, 
he hied himself to the basement, opened the 
door to the shower room, and walked in. 
Ac this point, his glasses promptly steamed 
up and our friend proceeded to the middle 
of the room in a more or less blinded condi- 
tion. Then he heard screams* Female 
screams! The man who tells this story does 
not say whether he just ran or whether he 
took off his glases for a good look, but every- 
body can fill in this part according to his 
own imaginativeness. Suffice it to say that a 
guard was posted forthwith. 

Field hospitals did their best work when 
the front was stable. In Normandy, they 
usually stayed in one location from one to 
two weeks, After one week, a hospital 
would be so full of severely ill patients that 
it took another week to make them all trans- 
portable. Abdominal patients especially 
could immobilize a hospital for many days. 
Since proper postoperative care was abso- 
lutely essential, one surgical team always had 
to stay behind when a hospital closed down. 
Occasionally special holding companies were 
used for this purpose. These companies how- 
ever, had neither the personnel nor the 
equipment for the job. There was no way 
of circumventing the clean-up period. 

One point that had given Third Auxers 
much concern before D Day was their rela- 
tion to the field hospital personnel In Sicily, 
this situation had been quite troublesome. 
In Normandy, the problem presented itself 
only once and then it was quickly straight- 
ened out. On the whole, the hospital officers 
did everything within their power to help 
the Third Auxers. They frequently assisted 
in the operating room. 

As for extracurricular entertainment, 
field hospitals were at the bottom of the list. 


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They were too small and too scattered to 
attract the shows that later toured the thea- 
ter. Occasionally, during slack periods, 
Third Auxers journeyed to neighboring in- 
stallations for a movie, a Bob Hope or Mar- 
lene Dietrich show. But such occasions were 
few and far between. Mostly, relaxation 
consisted of a round of poker, a supper of 
chips, or a walk through the country. 

Sightseeing in Normandy was not a prof- 
itable diversion. The towns were razed, the 
farms deserted, the fields uprooted, the 
bridges blown, the roads chewed up. Along 
the coastal stretches, the Germans had plant- 
ed thousands of poles to keep the gliders 
away. "Runstedt*s asparagus patches" they 
were called and they made an ugly pattern, 
reminiscent of the barbed wire entangle- 
ments of the other war. The scars of battle 
were everywhere and the towns of Monte- 
bourg, Valognes, and Pont PAbbe were so 
devastated that traffic was possible only over 
a narrow strip in the center of the street. 

And yet, while the pall of battle still hung 
close, Frenchmen would return. Only a day 
after the fall of Pont TAbbe a huge banner 
appeared on the street with the words 
egger passed through Montebourg a few 


Team No. 7 rests up: Bakem, Rosenberg, 
Bell, Andenon, Dohill. Srallcr, Weticl. 

hours after the fighting had ceased. The 
town had literally collapsed. Not a house 
was intact. Waist-high debris filled the 
streets. Progress was possible only on foot. 
A French boy, no older than sixteen, was 
climbing to the top of one of the few walls 
still standing. At the risk of his life, he 
fastened the tricolor to the chimney. Foreg- 
ger was touched- "Vive la France," he 
shouted to the boy in his precarious position, 
"Vive I'Amerique," was the answer. A 
Frenchman loves his native soil, even though 
it is just a ruin. 

During most of the summer, the Third 
Aux was reinforced with teams from other 
auxiliary surgical groups, notably the Fourth 
and the First. The Fourth Aux teams were 
with the Group only for the first month. 
The First Aux supplied eight teams that 
joined during the latter part of June and 
stayed almost till the end of the war. Besides 
these, a number of teams were recruited 
from the general hospitals during the critical 
days before St. Lo> Colonel Crisler made 
it a policy to deploy all these extra teams at 
the evacuation hospitals rather than at the 
field hospitals, mainly because he was firmly 
convinced of the superiority of a four-man 
team. The net effect was that practically 
all field hospital surgery of First Army was 
done by Third Aux teams. 

A team move in these early days was a 
slow and hazardous business. The danger 
arose from the fact that the front line was 
not always very clearly marked, either on 
the map or on the ground. More often than 
not, it was simply a place where nothing 
showed or moved. Sometimes sentries warned 
approaching traffic away. Ax other times 
there were no sentries. Then it was very easy 
to go astray. It happened to Lieutenant Sen- 
senbach in Luxemburg and It almost hap- 
pened to Major Church before St. Lo. 

The bocagc country of Normandy is criss- 
crossed by a great variety of roads, lanes, 


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and paths. At intersections, three or four 
of these might all take off in the same gen- 
eral direction without any indication of 
which one led where. On this particular 
evening, Church was under orders to take 
his team to a new location* a scant ten miles 
away. The men left at night. Before they 
had gone half the distance, they were hope- 
lessly lost. Church inquired of a patrol. It 
was no use. These men knew only their own 
sector and had no idea of what lay beyond. 
The Third Auxers could not even turn 
around and go back because the road by 
now was nothing but a few yards of black 
tar stretching away in the blackness of the 
night. The orders said to "proceed without 
delay." Proceed they did. They drove and 
stopped, drove and stopped, drove and 
stopped. Each time they became more con- 

Finally, just as dawn was beginning to 
break, the truck came upon a crossroad 
where a lone MP was rubbing the sleep out 
of his eyes, 

"Where are we, corporal?" asked Church. 

"Well, I can't tell you exactly but 

the Krauts arc just three hundred yards 
that-a way," was the laconic answer. And 
with that, the sentry pointed in the direction 
the truck was going! 

That was enough. Swearing under his 
breath, Church ordered the driver to turn 
around, retreat, and wait for help. The 
men eventually got their bearings and re- 
ported for duty at the new station, ten hours 
after they left. It was a trip that could 
easily have brought them to disaster* 

There was one other team that almost 
came to grief during the Cherbourg cam- 
paign and that was Major Graves*. His men 
were just finishing a run with the second 
platoon of the 42nd Field Hospital. The 
first platoon sent word that it was on the 
move and had been unable to take care of 
six non- transportable casualties in a field 

near Quettetot, The commanding officer of 
the second platoon decided to send Major 
Graves* team to the trouble spot. The men 
started out on the afternoon of 2 J June, 

At Quettetot they found the six casual- 
ties in a deserted pasture. A lieutenant of 
the first platoon took his leave as soon as 
the relief party arrived. Third Auxers made 
a quick survey of the situation and went to 
work immediately. Of the six wounded, 
one was dying, another was transportable, 
but four needed operation right away. Sup- 
plies were unloaded, tables were set up, pa- 
tients were prepared, and the operations got 
under way. For awhile, nobody had time 
to think of anything else. 

At nightfall a French farmer approached 
the tent. He spoke no English but Major 
Graves spoke a little French and out of the 
halting conversation it became apparent that 
the region around Quettetot was infested 
with marauding Germans. The French farm- 
er was applying for aid! At this point Graves 

Sightseeing in Normandy wat net a profit- 
able diveriion. This is Carcntem. 


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realized that, far from being able to protect 
the Frenchman, he could not even protect 
himself! All he had was a group of unarmed 
medics. What if a German soldier showed 
up? He could wipe out the whole hospital 
in a matter of minutes. 

Nobody could be spared to go for help* 
With many misgivings, the Third Auxers 
finished their work, unrolled their sleeping 
bags, and tried to catch some sleep. Their 
rest lasted only a few hours. A band of 
Germans discovered the American ambu- 
lance and brought it under fire. Only the 
blackness of the night kept the tent from 
snaring the same fate* When daylight came, 
the Germans had dispersed but the ambu- 
lance was found riddled with bullet holes. If 
someone had used the vehicle for sleeping 
quarters (and this was a favorite trick), it 
would have meant certain death. Without 
waiting for any more French farmers to 
bring him bad news, Major Graves moved 
his party back to the second platoon. He 
had no desire to defend Quettetot 

Fining tht black-cur entronet. 

Cherbourg surrendered on 24 June but 
many isolated groups of Germans still held 
out* It was only with the capture of the 
Arsenal on 27 June that the city was cleared. 
Even after that, the outlying forts continued 
to fire. This is what Captain Foregger saw. 

"Cherbourg was the first real city to be 
captured and we all wanted to see it. I 
caught a ride in a jeep. At Octeville the 
panorama began to unfold itself. We de- 
scended rapidly and in a few minutes entered 
the city. It wasn't much of a city and yet I 
was thrilled. After Montebourg and Valog- 
nes, any house looked good. The Germans 
had built a pillbox right in the middle of the 
main plaza. They had cleverly camouflaged 
it as a house, including painted-on windows. 
I wanted to see it and got out of the jeep. 
The interior was disappointing. Nothing 
but worn-out boots and helmets. 

The harbor offered more excitement. The 
Krauts had done their usual thorough job 
of demolition. Every pier, every dock, 
every ship had been systematically dynamit- 
ed, A large freighter blocked the entrance. 
Suddenly it started belching smoke. A 
Frenchman told me that it was a German 
time bomb. The bastards, I thought. 

I continued to the Place de Napoleon 
where a crowd was gathering. Some sort of 
celebration was going on. Frenchmen were 
scurrying hither and yon. Workmen were 
erecting a big sign, the first word of which 
read VIVE. Troops of the 4th Division were 
lining up* A wave of excitement ran 
through the people. Suddenly they all start- 
ed looking out towards the sea. I followed 
their gaze. Little puffs of smoke came from 
the forts on the jetty. Good God! Were 
they firing at us? Before I could decide, T 
heard airplanes. Out of the clouds they 
swooped. They peeled off one by one and 
dived straight for the forts. We could see 


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the bombs very plainly. Most of them fell 
in the water but one of them hit the target. 
There was a huge sheet of flame, a black 
column of smoke, and the masonry settled 
down into a shapeless pile. The Frenchmen 
began to shout, the band struck up a march. 
General Barton read his citations, and the 
workmen continued their job, I could hard- 
ly believe my eyes. Here was the war going 
on right under my nose and right under the 
noses of a thousand Frenchmen. Only the 
statue of Napoleon remained unmoved.' 1 

The fall of Cherbourg was a heavy blow 
to the Germans, Hitler had said that Cher- 
bourg would resist all attempts at capture. 
He never dreamed that his vaunted legions 
would be overwhelmed and that the Amer- 
icans would convert the beaches into great 
supply centers. These two miscalculations 
proved his undoing. On 2 5 June, less than 

three weeks after D Day, the Americans had 
knocked Hitler's greatest boast out of his 

The Build-Up 

While VII Corps mopped up the Cher- 
bourg peninsula, the major effort now shift- 
ed south where VIII Corps had been holding 
the line Carentan-Barneville. It became the 
job of VIII Corps to seize the key points 
from which the break-through could be 
launched. These key points were La Haye 
du Puits and St. Lo. 

The terrain at the base of the Cotentin 
was highly favorable to the defense and cor- 
respondingly unfavorable to the attack. 
Marshlands channeled the assault into nar- 
row corridors within which the familiar 
pattern of small fields and numerous hedge- 
rows made the use of tanks impossible and 
forced the infantry into a costly frontal 

Th» tacsgt country. 

3 r^ 


attack. It was a slugging match in which 
the attackers were often pinned down for 
days on end. 

Third Auxers could always tell when a 
big offensive got under way because of the 
preliminary artillery barrage which would 
invariably pass directly over their heads. So 
it was that the teams around St. Sauveur le 
Vicomte were awakened early in the morn- 
ing of 3 July by a terrific cannonading that 
lasted fully an hour. It marked the jump- 
ofT of three divisions for La Haye du Fuits. 
The town was taken, lost* and re-taken- It 
finally came into American hands for good 
on 7 July, This attack ground to a halt at 

The next push was aimed at St. Lo, a name 
that will live forever. While VII Corps en- 
gaged the enemy to the northwest, the 29th 
and 3 5 th Division converged on the doomed 
town. In a week of savage fighting the 
Americans gradually dislodged the Germans 
but it took tons of bombs and tons of shells. 
When_the first American troops entered St. 
Lo on 18 July, they saw little more than a 
pile of rubble. 

Meanwhile the Omaha sector had been 
relatively quiet. Here the brunt of the fight- 

ing was carried on by the British and the 
Canadians who finally succeeded in seizing 
Caen on 9 July. Caen now was the pivot 
from which the line ran north to the sea 
and west to Lessay. 

The week following the capture of St. Lo 

was one of ominous quiet. On the surface it 
seemed that the Germans had contained the 
beachhead but in reality they were teetering 
all along the front. Nowhere did the enemy 
have the strength for an effective counter- 
attack. Rommell was seriously wounded. 
Von Rundstedt was recalled. The Germans 
were Ieaderless. 

The period from 25 June to 2 J July was 
one of intense activity for the Third Aux, 
As the month of July advanced, the pressure 
shifted from the western end to the eastern 
end of the line. The greatest burden fell 
on the men in front of St. Lo. Casualties at 
this point far exceeded expectations and 
the teams were deluged. The ordinary 
twelve-hour shift was extended to twenty- 
four hours and then to thirty-six hours. 
Some of the more rugged men even managed 
to keep going forty-eight hours without rest 
but this represented the end-point of human 

-i i_ 


Third Aux teams faced several major 
crises during the course of the war. The 
early days on the beachhead belong in this 
category and so do the battle for Monte- 
bourg, the carnage at St. Lo, the counter- 
attack at Mortain, the nightmare of the 
Hiirtgen Forest, and the Battle of the Bulge. 
The physical stress and strain^ the mental 
fatigue and anguish of such periods cannot 
be described. They are locked up within 
each man. Every Third Auxer gave all he 
had and reaped his own rewards, regardless 
of whether he came home with a decoration. 

The month of July brought an important 
change to Headquarters. On the 24th, Colo- 
nel Lodmell was replaced by Colonel Cris- 
ler. A well-known Memphis surgeon, Colo- 
nel Crisler had the qualities that are needed 
in a commanding officer: keen insight, cour- 
teous dignity, and unflagging energy. Third 
Auxers respected him from the time they 
first met him in Stourport. 

The Break-T 'hrough 
Since the beginning of July, plans had 
been under way for a decisive thrust which 

would break out of the beachhead and give 
room to maneuver. This was operation 

Bad weather caused a week's delay but on 
25 July, things began to move* The assault 
was launched over a narrow front west of 
St. Lo by VII Corps, reinforced to four 
infantry divisions and two armored divi- 
sions. First came a saturation bombing of 
unheard-of proportions. Concentrating on 
a strip four miles long and a mile and a half 
wide, 1500 heavy bombers laid a pattern 
averaging ten bombs to the acre. Some of 
the bombs were released prematurely and 
killed hundreds of Americans, including 
General McNair. But the enemy fared far 
worse. Stunned by the ferocity of the at- 
tack, he reeled. At the end of the first day, 
the infantry had opened a gap five miles 
wide and two miles deep. 

This was what the armored divisions were 
watting for. On 26 July, the 3rd Armored 
and the 1st Infantry Motorized poured 
through the breach and headed southwest. 
On 27 July the situation had become very 
fluid. The enemy was being pressed back 
at many points. On 28 July Coutances fell 
and the resistance around Lessay and Periers 

The docks ct Cherbourg. If fook a long time before the Allies could vie Ihern. 

3 i_ 


disintegrated. On 29 July the advance con- 
tinued in a southwesterly direction. Disre- 
garding pockets of resistance along the coast, 
the 4th Armored now made its spectacular 
dash for Brittany. Avranches fell on 29 
July and the whole western shoulder of the 
German line crumbled. The gamble had 
been won. 

Although the German western flank had 
given way entirely, his eastern flank was 
still intact. This contained the bulk of his 
armored divisions. Reinforcements contin- 
ued to arrive and to engage the British and 
the Canadians southeast of Caen. Retreat- 
ing German divisions from the western flank 
were side-slipping to the southeast so that 
on 6 August the front ran in a curving line 
from Caen through Vire to Mortain. South 
of Barenton there was no organized resis- 

The one German hope of avoiding com- 
plete disaster was the reconstitution of a 

new front with its western flank anchored 
on the sea. The last point at which this 
could be done was Avranches. Hitler sent 
instructions that Avranches was to be taken 
at all costs. The German commanders con- 
centrated five armored divisions for the 
greatest counterattack of the war with the 
exception of the Bulge. 

At the start of this counteroffensive, the 
30th Infantry Division was holding the Ger- 
mans at Mortain, gateway to Avranches. 
Halfway between Mortain and Avranches, 
a platoon of the 47th Field Hospital had set 
up at the hamlet of Refueveille. It was 
staffed by the teams of Graves and Higgin- 
botham. The hospital was pitched on the 
high ground east of the village and over- 
looked miles and miles of rolling country, 
dotted with beautiful woods and lush fields. 
This was the edge of the boca^e country. 
The fields were a little larger than around St. 
Lo but they were still surrounded by hedges 

St. Lo wot wip*4 off tkt fee* of th* *orth. 


i =tt 


and covered with the crops of the season. 
The weather had taken a turn for the better 
and the Third Auxers reveled in the sight 
of the church steeples, the clustered houses, 
and the scattered farms that made up Re- 

The attack came on 7 August- In a day 
of savage fighting, the Germans retook the 
town of Mortain. The JOth Division suf- 
fered heavily and many of the casualties 
could not be reached because German armor 
fanned out beyond the town. One Amer- 
ican battalion was isolated on the hills east 
of Mortain and held out during the entire 
five days of the battle. If it had not been 
for this heroic defense, the Germans might 
have been successful in carrying out their 
designs. As it was, they came close. Tanks 
penetrated as far as Juvigny le Tertre and 
on 10 August were within one mile of Re- 

At the hospital, the stream of casualties 
mounted alarmingly. Third Auxers made 
a valiant attempt to keep up but on 9 
August the situation had grown out of hand* 

General Roger* decorate* Colonel Or*ler. 

The backlog had risen to 16 patients. It 
was more than two teams could handle. 
Graves called for help. The next morning, 
the teams of Zeiders and Hurwitz arrived. 
They went to work immediately. 

On the evening of 10 August the operat- 
ing room was going full blast. A second tent 
had been pressed into service and four oper- 
ations were going on simultaneously. Major 
Zeiders was starting an operation for the 
removal of a foreign body near the heart. 
Graves was making notes at a table in the 
center of the tented area. But he could not 
concentrate on his task. Something made 
him get up and saunter over to the nearest 
vantage point. He wanted to see how Zeid- 
ers was getting along. 

Suddenly, there was a sharp report, like 
a crack of thunder. The tent poles swayed 
under a violent rush of air. Everybody 
sensed disaster. People looked at each other. 
There was a minute of ominous silence. 

One of the nurses from the postoperative 
ward rushed in, wiping blood from her neck. 
An enlisted man from the hospital platoon 
held up his helmet. It showed two clean 
holes. Graves glanced over towards the 
table where he had been sitting. His fat, 
leather-bound diary was torn to shreds! 

Again the air was torn asunder. The oper- 
ating tent was pierced in a dozen places. 
The steel table of the x-ray machine was 
pierced. Everyone realized that the hos- 
pital had been bracketed. Everyone knew 
that it was fust a matter of minutes until 
the third shell found its mark. The patients 
in the postoperative tent became hysterical* 
At the front, a man could at least find cover. 
Here, he was defenseless. Consternation 
changed to gripping fear. But the third shell 
never came. 

Two days before, the Germans had taken 
aerial photographs with magnesium flares. 
On these photographs, the hospital tents 
showed very plainly but their red crosses 


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did not. German tank commanders studied 
the photographs, spotted the tents, and fired 
two rounds* The shells landed about fifteen 
yards from the entrance to the receiving 
tent. Thousands of fragments showered the 
area. Every tent was damaged* Many trucks 
were hit. And yet, the only casualty was 
the platoon nurse who suffered a superficial 
flesh wound of the neck. The next morntng, 
all the nurses and one Third Aux team were 

For the skeleton crew that remained be- 
hind, the next few days were filled with anx- 
iety. Now it became evident how unwise 
it was to dispense with foxholes. Third Aux- 
crs immediately corrected the situation. The 
result was a series of excavations to do justice 
to a professional well-digger. Some of the 
holes had camouflaged roofs and padded 
walls. One of them was so deep that its oc- 
cupant had to have a ladder to get in and 
out. It was love's labor lost. The Germans 
were already on the run, 

What made the Germans run was a com- 
bination of American bombers and rein- 

forcements from the 29th Division. Pres- 
ently, there came a new threat to hasten the 
Nazi retreat. This was the wheeling move- 
ment against Argentan which culminated 
in the Falaise pocket. The Germans recog- 
nized the danger of their extended position 
and they were still further discomfited by 
the fresh Allied landings on the south coast 
of France, The Mortain salient disappeared 
as rapidly as it had formed. Hitler was 

The fighting now rapidly shifted to the 
east. The Falaise pocket was next. With the 
British-Canadian forces advancing from the 
north and the American First Army from 
the west, the Germans were driven into a 
crap. The noose was laid on 10 August when 
First Army turned north from Le Mans and 
attacked towards Alencon. On If August 
these troops reached Argentan, During the 
next four days the Germans made a desperate 
effort to keep their escape route open and 
some of their divisions did get away but on 
\9 August the Canadians and the Americans 
came together at Chambois and the once- 

1 , *-iir |B »-if? 

The gount ruim of Vire. 


proud Seventh German Army was annihi- 
lated. This sealed the fate of the entire 
German garrison in France. 

The dash across France and Belgium 
Third Auxers now turned their attention 
to the east where the advances were meas- 
ured in dozens of miles instead of by the 
mile. Progress was so rapid that it was hard 
to follow it. Chartres fell on 1 S August, 
Dreux on 16 August, Orleans on 17 August. 
Two days later, the 79th Division crossed 
the Seine at Mantes. On 23 August, First 
Army had swept around Paris and was mov- 
ing in a northeasterly direction at unprece- 
dented speed. The front had moved some 
two hundred miles in two weeks! 

For Third Auxers, these weeks were most- 
ly a time of relaxation. It was impossible to 
keep hospitals close to the front and there 
was little to do but relax in the sun, catch 
up on sleep, see the sights, and "cement 

relationships." August was the only month 
when the 'weather was consistently good and 
Third Auxers made the most of their op- 
portunity. For the first time they had a 
chance to look around, and the numerous 
road signs of the Touring Club de TOuest 
guided their steps. Mont St, Michiel, St. 
Mala, Bagnoles de TOrne, these were all 
international tourist -attractions. 

Viewed from a distance, Mont St. Michiel 
looks like a fantastic medieval castle, rising 
sheer out of the placid waters of the English 
Channel, Actually, it is a small village with 
quaint houses hugging the steep slopes that 
culminate in the abbey at the top. A cause- 
way connects the island with the mainland 
and as battle-weary Third Auxers drove over 
this causeway, they were gradually trans- 
ported to a different world, a world so far 
away from the sordid scenes at the field 
hospitals that it seemed beyond imagination. 
Here was a bit of historic France perched on 
a rock and untouched by the war. Here is 
what one Third Auxer had to say about it. 

German Tiger tank at Juvigny le Tertre. 

3 a. 


"Books have been written about Mont St. 
Michiel and if I had the same ability as the 
authors, I would give you a faithful account 
of everything we saw. But we did not see 
Mont St, Michiel with the eyes of a peace- 
time scholar who goes there to absorb the 
rich flavor, What fascinated us most was 
that we saw normal French people live nor* 
mal, peaceful lives. Of course^ we did make 
the pilgrimage to the statue of Joan of Arc, 
and we studied the quiet majesty of the 
Gothic archways, and we visited the museum 
with its musty relics, and we climbed the 
footpath to the top of the promontory^ but 
the real high spot came when we sat down 
on the spacious veranda at Mere Poulard's 
and ordered our dinner of omelet, roast 
beef, cheese, and wine, just like ordinary 
tourists. Yes, war is a business of startling 
contrasts. Only a week before 3 we were 
slugging it out amid the gunk and gore of 
the most dreadful wounds/* 

Sightseeing was not an unmixed pleasure 

however, because trucks and jeeps simply 

are not made for comfort. Peggy Baker was 
the only one to beat that hazard. Jokingly 
she had asked a visiting infantry colonel if 
he could get her "one of those nice German 
jeeps." The colonel mumbled something in 
his beard and Peggy promptly forgot all 
about her jeep. Imagine her surprise, when 
a few days larer, the colonel drove up in a 
classy Mercedes with amphibious chassis, 
streamlined fenders, balloon tires, and pro- 
peller at the rear! A product of German 
ingenuity, this vehicle could negotiate roads 
and rivers with equal facility. It provided 
many moments of relaxation and hilarity 
before it had to be jettisoned along with 
many other valuable mementos that would 
not fit in a barracks bag. 

While some German equipment was thus 
ahead of American, most of it fell far short* 
Third Auxers were astonished to see many 
dead horses by the side of wrecked German 
vehicles, French farmers supplied the an- 
swer. These horses had been requisitioned 
to pull everything from field kitchens to 
light artillery. Amazing as it seemed, a Ger- 
man division on the move in the year 1944 
needed more than eight hundred horses! 

A typical Normandy forest. 

-i i_ 


i =tt 

Lieutenant Sensenbach, who had a first-hand 
view of German methods during his nine 
months of captivity, put it well. "Sure, the 
Germans had marvelous equipment. It was 
marvelous by European standards. The only 
trouble was that the Americans had twice as 

After the middle of August, speculation 
ran rife about the fate of Paris. The liber- 
ation of this city was but one dramatic inci- 
dent in the general thrust northeastward, 
but in those days it was considered symbolic 
of the li bera t ion of all France . Tension 
mounted as news from the beleaguered city 
filtered through. Every day provided ex- 
citing moments. On 14 August, de Gaulle 
called for a national resistance movement. 
Isolated skirmishes broke out in Paris, Ger- 
man efforts to round up the patriots only 
made matters worse. The Paris police de- 
clared a strike which was the prelude to a 
general insurrection. On 19 August, fight- 
ing was in full swing and the patriots gained 
control of the center of the city. After four 
days, a truce was arranged and the world 
prematurely celebrated the news that Paris 
was free. But the truce failed to hold and 
the hard-pressed partisans needed outside 

This placed the Allied commanders in a 
dilemma. Serious fighting for Paris would 
tie up forces that were urgently needed else- 
where. Yet, it was difficult to leave the 
patriots to their fate. The decision was made 
to intervene. The French 2nd Armored 
Division and the American 4th Infantry 
Division were directed to advance on the 
city. The French came from the west, the 
Americans from the south. For an eyewit- 
ness account of what took place, let us turn 
to a group of lucky Third Auxers. 

Paris was not exactly what we had ex- 
pected it to be on that fateful 2 5 August. 
If we had known that we would get there 
before our own troops and that we would 
get shot at on the Rue de Versailles, we might 

not have started so lightheartedly. But we 
did not know it and so our casual excursion 
turned swiftly into high adventure. It was 
high adventure because it combined in the 
short space of one day all the elements of a 
thriller: surprise, excitement, risk, suspense, 
drama, and, triumph. For those twenty-four 
hours, we were part of a train of events that 
held us spellbound and when it was all over, 
we had witnessed a spectacle of historic sig- 
nificance. That spectacle was Paris on the 
day the Fighting French stormed the last 
German bastions. To see that, we would 
risk our necks again, 

It was on 23 August that we first got our 
wild idea. On that day the Free French radio 
broadcast from the Parvis of Notre Dame 
that the partisans were gaining the upper 
hand in their battle with the German gar- 
rison. True, the anouncer said nothing about 
American or British troops in the city, and 
his eloquent oratory was interrupted fre- 
quently by shots but we paid little attention 
to such details and assumed that the city 
had finally been rid of its oppressors. Paris 

Mont St. Michicl had loit none at iti flavor 


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on the greatest day of its history! Paris, the 
gayest, the most glamorous city of all Eu- 
rope! What could be more exciting than 
to see it at the height of its deliverance? 

Immediately we launched into a discussion 
of how to get there. The only vehicle that 
we could get our hands on was the surgical 
truck. Not that it was particularly adapted 
to a reconnaissance mission of that sort. But 
we quickly rationalized. Had we not seen 
bulldozers scurrying over the boulevards of 
Cherbourg while the bombs were still fall- 
ing? And should we not take surgical sup- 
plies to the hospitals, provisions to the civil- 
ians, and succor to the wounded? Moreover, 
the very bulkiness of our conveyance (so 
we reasoned) would allay the suspicions of 
meddlesome MP's. In short, when we had 
finished the planning stage, we would not 
have exchanged our eight-ton colossus for 
the slickest jeep in the world. Events proved 
us right. When the bullets started flying, 
our vehicle commanded respect from friend 
and enemy alike. 

We stocked up with prudence afore- 
thought. The van needed streamlining. No 
longer was it to be just a mobile operating 

room. On this trip, it might have to func- 
tion as observation post, field kitchen, sleep- 
ing quarters, and dressing station. We went 
over it with a critical eye. Rations, blankets, 
stoves, cigarettes, everything but the emer- 
gency latrine. We had never needed one 

Eriday 21 August dawned a bright and 
sunny day, the kind of day that makes na- 
ture smile. There was a tang in the air and 
we embarked on our adventure with a 2est 
worthy of a more legitimate object. tf We," 
in this case meant the team: Foot-loose, in- 
quisitive, alert Cliff Graves, Quiet, studious 
soft-spoken Elphege Beaudreault. Restless, 
impulsive, quick thinking Claude Warren. 
Wily, deliberate, smart Dick Foregger. Good 
fellows all. And then of course the drivers: 
Vaudelle Lewis and Neil Horn, Steady, de- 
pendable GFs. 

So high was our spirit of anticipation 
that at first we had little eye for the country 
we rode through: dense, unspoiled forests, 
lush fields, occasional ridges with sweeping 
views. Even the little towns failed to excite 
our curiosity. We had gotten used to their 
ruined houses, their evil smells, and their 

One thing thor omoied Third Auien was the dead hen*l. 

3 a. 


i =tt 

sad inhabitants. So preoccupied were we that 
we failed Co return the arm-wavings of the 
occupants of an ecoie pour jeunes filles. To- 
day we had other things on our mind. At 
Alencon we stopped for a Junch of K rations. 
Then we began to give serious thought to 
our surroundings. 

By this time we had left the hills of the 
Cotentin well behind and found ourselves 
on the fertile farm-lands of Eure et Loire. 
Instead of the crater-pocked fields of Nor- 
mandy we were now seeing the practically 
untouched bread-basket of France where 
the Germans had not "elected to make a 
stand," Not only were the fields and farm- 
houses unscathed, but even the highway be- 
came strangely peaceful, in sharp contrast 
to the jammed roads of Normandy. The 
significance of this did not dawn on us until 
later. For the time being, we became wholly 
absorbed in the laughing landscape that un- 
folded itself before us. In the endless rows 
of wheat sheaves, yellow in the blazing sun. 
In the graceful, slender steeples, jutting up 
from clumps of trees. In the creaking horse- 
drawn wagons, hauling wheat and hay and 
corn. In the waving rows of beech trees 
leading off to stately manors. In the neat 
and well-trimmed orchards, trees ablaze with 
ripening fruit. In the narrow, little by- 
paths, curving, winding, dipping, rising. 
France, la belle France. 

But where were our troops? "We had 
fancied to be part of a great wave of Amer- 
ican military might. Instead of that, we 
were hurrying along a completely deserted 
highway with only here and there a sign 
of recent battle: a strafed German staff car, 
a charred Tiger tank, a side-swept Truppen- 
wagen. As we got farther east, the only 
change in this pattern was that the derelicts 
would now be standing in the middle of the 
road instead of lying in the dicch. Evident- 
ly, the wreckers had not gotten this far yet. 
Still, we had no eye for anything but our 
goal, Wasn't Paris at the end of the road? 

We were still some twenty-five miles from 
our destination when we were stopped by 
a gendarme. Monsieur would pardon the de- 
lay but it was his duty to inform us that 
the road to Paris was being crossed at un- 
predictable times by retreating Germans. 
As far as he knew there had been no trouble 
in the past few hours, but only this morning 
an American captain had been shot in his 
jeep, fa-bas. And then, there were mines. 
He showed me on the map. JcL Of course, if 
Monsieur wants to take chance and go on 
his own risk 

A sudden pall settled on our spirits. Jerry 
troops. Land mines. Robot tanks. Booby 
traps. Eighty-eights, Snipers. We had gone 
through all that before and we were not 
anxious to renew the acquaintance. But 
damn it, we had gone a long way to get 
this far. We had driven a hundred miles. 
We had the wherewithal. We were just be- 
ginning to taste success. We had well, 

there were a number of reasons. To turn 
back now would be to admit defeat. We 

We collared a civilian, "Paris? Mais non, 
c'est impossible!'* 

We stopped a jeep with two GFs from 
the 4th Division, the first Americans we had 
seen since noon. ''We are heading south, 
it's a no-man's land between here and Paris." 

We spied a GI truck, coming out of a 
side road. "Paris? I don't think you can 
make it. My buddy tried it but he had 
to turn back." 

They all had their own version. So did 
our gang. Elphege was for turning back. 
Dick urged going on, Claude was on the 
fence. Lewis and Horn just looked at me. 
I was on the spot. 

Ten minutes later we pushed off. This 
was the one time when we just had to take 
a chance, the one exploit we would be telling 
our grandchildren about. The hell with 


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It would be difficult: to describe our state 
of mtnd during that next hour. We felt 
like a bomber crew over Berlin^ except more 
jumpy because we had nothing to shoot back 
with. Nothing but our great big van that 
presented a target nobody could miss- We 
drove cautiously, staying well on the left side 
of the road and scanning the horizon at 
every bend. But we saw nothing. It was 
the most deserted road I have ever seen. 

I had marked the mined area on my map. 
It was at a fork in the road. An unexploded 
robot -tank was partly hidden in the grass 
of the verge. Across from it was the remains 
of a gas station with a huge sign, half down, 
announcing the supreme excellence of 
Huiles Renault. As if anybody cared I But 
I shall always remember that spot for the 
Huiles Renault. The gendarme had said: 
"Take the right branch." We did. It led 
us straight into Versailles. 

And now, a few miles before the Paris 
suburb, we finally began to see some human 
beings again, but they were not the Amer- 
ican soldiers we were looking for. Instead, 
they were French cyclists who would dis- 
mount as soon as they saw us and wave mad- 
ly. It did seem a bit over-enthusiastic but 
then, the French are known to be a demon- 
strative people and perhaps they were mere- 
ly fascinated by the dimensions of our ve- 
hicle. At any rate, we lost no opportunity 
to wave back just as enthusiasticaIiy T if not 
as gracefully. For the next few minutes we 
were completely absorbed in this game which 
became more interesting as we saw more and 
more good-looking girls in the crowd. This 
was a cinch. Why hadn't we thought of go- 
ing to Paris before? 

There was a sharp bend in the road and 
then a barricade. The next thing we saw 
was a long row of tanks, guns pointing 
towards Versailles, crews ready for action, 
machine guns deployed behind trees. An 

officer in American battle dress but with 
French insignia held up his hand and ad- 
dressed us with typical Gallic urbanity. This 
was a tank battalion of the French Force of 
the Interior (the so-called F.F.L) with in- 
structions to intercept an escaping regiment 
of German infantry that was being chased 
in this direction. Of course it was possible 
that the Germans would disperse or change 
their course in the next hour, but the in- 
structions had been specific and anyone en- 
tering Versailles from this side did so at his 
own risk. "Naturally we are delighted to 
see the Americans here at such a critical 
time, and especially la grande voiture chirur- 
gicale ..... Really, Monsieur should not 
take these Germans too seriously. They had 
already been pushed out of the suburbs and 
were about to give up any time now. Alors, 
Paris is being freed by the Parisians them- 
selves, n'est ce pas? CVst formidable." Etc. 
etc. etc. 

There we were. Within ten miles of Paris 
but separated from it by a column of Ger- 
mans! How utterly exasperating. How com- 
pletely disheartening. And this situation 
might not change for twenty-four hours or 
longer. What were we to do meanwhile? 
Stay here? Turn back? Continue in the face 
of German opposition? This called for some 
careful deliberation. 

We deliberated. We looked at it from all 
sides but we got no further. There were 
the same pros and cons as before. Only, this 
time we were even closer to our goal. We 
cast about for an inspiration. We looked at 
the grim cannon, the silent tanks, the alert 
soldiers, the road which had suddenly lost 
all its traffic. But wait, had it really? What 
was this coming towards us now? So help 
me. Two Americans in a jeep. 

It was a major of the Quartermaster Corps 
and his driver They had no more business 
being there than we, but they were consider- 
ably better prepared because the major had 
a gun. They had arrived by a different route 


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and they had their minds set on getting to 
Paris, So we put our heads together and made 
a plan de campagne. We would continue 
towards Versailles, the major in his jeep in 
front, we at a sufficient distance to have 
some protection from his gun and yet far 
enough behind to allow a quick retreat, 
should the necessity arise. For the rest, we 
had to trust to luck. Alons, mes enfants. 
Paris est Ia-bas, 

The next hour was undoubtedly the most 
exciting of our lives. It saw us through a 
tremendous ovation in Versailles, a street 
fight under the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, 
and back again to Versailles for a reception 
such as only the French can put on. Gradual- 
ly we pieced the story together. Once we 
had done that, we could look back and un- 
derstand everything perfectly. 

On 2 J August, Parisian partisans had been 
fighting the German garrison for almost a 
week and they had done so without any out- 
side help whatever. With superb courage and 
improvised equipment, they had erected 
street barricades, engaged tanks, and dis- 
rupted communications. As the days wore 
on, these battles increased in ferocity be- 
cause the French, tasting revenge, became 
bolder and bolder, while the Germans were 
infuriated at -being mauled by an under- 
ground army, and severely mauled at that. 
As one would expect in such a situation, the 
French suffered heavy losses at first, but they 
carried on magnificently in the belief that 
they were soon to be joined by the Amer- 
icans- Always, at the most critical moments, 
word had gone around: "Stand fast. Hold 
on, The Americans will soon be here." The 
longer the French waited, the higher went 
their hopes* Even on 2 J August, when the 
battle for Paris reached its climax, Versailles 
had seen no Americans and so it was that 
we, we in our unarmed, clandestine, run- 
away vehicle were looked upon as the Amer- 
ican Army, the conquering heroes, "ces 

braves Yankees" who were chasing the Boche 
from the most sacred ground in France! 

These were the things we learned later. 
But, at the moment we approached Ver- 
sailles, we were completely unaware of them 
and we were utterly unprepared for the re- 
ception that awaited us. As soon as we passed 
the famous Palace, we were confronted by a 
milling, cheering, frenzied multitude that 
mobbed our truck and stopped us dead in 
our tracks. Men ran out with bottles of 
champagne; women handed us their babies 
to be kissed; girls clambered up with auto- 
graph books; boys hoisted themselves on the 
radiator, into the cab, even on the top of the 
truck. It was the most spontaneous, the 
most sincere, the most moving demonstra- 
tion that we shall ever see and it produced 
an electrifying effect on us. To understand 
it, one must understand the French people, 
suppressed, enslaved, humiliated for four 
long years and now suddenly set free, like a 
bird let out of its cage, 

We Americans have no conception of the 
suffering and the indignities of those four 
years, We could only see the mute evidence 
of it here and there. In the theater signs: 
Germans only. In the food dumps, gathered 
while Paris starved. In the proclamations 
threatening death to anyone caught on the 
street at night. In the piles of civilian prop- 
erty, hastily requisitioned and just as hastily 
abandoned. In the violent outbursts where- 
ever German prisoners appeared on the 
streets. In the dumb-struck Jewish people, 
many of them still wearing their badge: 
Juif. But most of all we could see it in the 
faces of the people who lined our route. 
Eager, animated, jubilant faces, all of them 
expressing the wildest joy. Never will we 
forget them. It was the Gallic spirit in one 
great explosive outpouring. We were seeing 
the French people in their greatest moment. 

So this was Versailles. What would Paris 
be like? We must find out and so we disen- 
gaged ourselves from the general tumult and 


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continued through the beautiful but de- 
serted Bois de Sevres towards the Seine- I 
tried to form a picture of what awaited us 
by questioning three gendarmes who had 
asked to ride with us* They said that they 
were being sent to reinforce the partisans in 
Paris. A dozen ambulances were marooned 
in a section that had been cut off by barri- 
cades. Were we going in to relieve these? 
I was just going to ask them if we were sup- 
posed to charge the barricades with the 
grartde voiture when I caught 
glimpse of the Eiffel Tower and 
was so Impressive, it silenced me. 

Even on an ordinary day, Paris 
that will silence anyone. On 2 S August 
1944, it was more than that, It was a revela- 
tion- Pregnant with the spirit of a nation 
reborn, Paris down below us became an awe- 
some spectacle that made us see the mighty 
stream of history. We were part of that 
history. For a long time, no one said a word. 

We crossed the river at the Pont de Sevres. 
The avenue was lined with handsome, mod- 
ernistic apartment houses, most of. them fly- 
ing the tricolor, but the pavement was lit- 
tered with debris and there were no people 
about. At the Porte de St. Cloud we circled 


is a 



slowly, feeling our way and heading up the 
Avenue de Versailles which had a more 
normal appearance, Again t crowds began 
to appear and again there was applause, 
cheering, tossing of flowers, and waving of 
flags. But this time we tried to discourage 
all this because we did not wish to attract 
the attention of snipers. If we had known 
that at this very moment there was fierce 
fighting on the Place de la Concorde, that 
tanks were charging the Chambre de 
Deputes, and that the Grand Palais had just 
been set on fire by the Germans, we would 
have been more cautious yet because all these 
places were just around the corner, 

Suddenly, shots rang out. Pedestrians 
scurried in all directions. A figure lay 
slumped on the sidewalk, half a block away. 
Carloads of partisans, guns ablaze, whizzed 
by. Gendarmes posted themselves in the 
middle of the street. We got out and ques- 
tioned them. 

"Oui Monsieur. German snipers are firing 
on the crowd. Reinforcements will be here 
soon. Barricades are already being manned." 
And again that same supreme disdain for 
the Boche: "Really, it is nothing, Monsieur. 
There are only a few Germans here (Paris 

An Amtricaff-mad* tank monn*d by tha F.F.L anton Paris. 

-i i_ 


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newspapers the next day mentioned 40,000) . 
On vous demands Veuillez continuer /* And 
he made a gesture in the direction of the 

We scanned the street. There was noth- 
ing extraordinary to be seen. The major in 
his jeep said that he would make a recon- 
naissance* We waited. Five minutes later 
he came back as if chased by a thousand 
devils. Caught in a crossfire of machine 
guns, he had escaped only because his jeep 
would turn corners faster than bullets, As 
he finished talking, shots rang out again. 
Glass fell in front of us. There was no use 
stretching our luck. We had had enough. 

Considerably faster than we had come, 
we now retraced our course across the Seine 
and back to Versailles. "When we got there, 
we found the town in even greater excite- 
ment than before. Word had spread like 
wildfire that the Americans had arrived and 
when these people, who had welcomed us 
only an hour before, now saw us return, 
they immediately decided that we were go- 
ing to make Versailles our Headquarters. 
Nothing was further from our minds. All 
we wanted was something to eat and a place 
to sleep. We got both plus a civic cele- 

Wherever we went, crowds were already 
awaiting us. A clean-faced, blue-eyed par- 
tisan of seventeen, who carried his gun with 
an aplomb that belied his age, conducted us 
to the Hotel de Richeau where we sat down 
to the best dinner that Versailles had to 
offer while the proprietor fought vainly at 
the door to keep the crowds away. After 
dinner we met the town notables, mainly 
members of the resistance movement, shook 
hands with hundreds of lesser lights, and 
kissed untold numbers of charming girls. 
There was singing and speech making and 
toasting and news-exchanging and well- 
wishing and merrymaking until it was quite 
impossible to distinguish the popping of 
champagne bottles at the bar from the 

fusillades on the street where the Jerry-hunt 
went on all night. 

The next morning Paris newspapers ran 
the story with unvarying eloquence, if vary- 
ing accuracy. I quote from L'Aube, 


A 19 h. 25, dans le tonnerre des canons, 
une grande voiture americaine bousculait 
de Versailles Jes derniers elements allemands 
qui partaient au desbrdre le long de la voie 
du metro. A 3 9 h. 30, a quelques metres du 
P. C, a travers les barricades et entre les 
groupes ennemis, le commandant Clifford 
L. Graves de New York City et de l'armee 
des Etats-Unies, avec plusieurs autres ofliciers 
americains, accompagnes du capitaine Girar- 
din, charge de mission par le Comite medical 
de la Resistance, arrivaient devant la Maine 
de Versailles. Une foule en delire, le mot 
n*est pas trop fort, se rassemblait en quelques 
instants . . . . . 

La grande voiture qui les avait amenee 
etait couverte de fleurs et de drapeaux aux 

couleurs all lees Le premier soin du 

commandant Graves a ete de se mettre en 
rapport avec les services medicaux francais 
pour s'enquenr des besoins de la population 
francaise en medicaments 

Une reception f ut organisee sous les rafales 
de mitraillettes et tout pres du canon par 
M, Sergetan, maire de Versailles, en presence 
des pnncipaux membres de la resistance et 
centames d'autres . , . . . . 


At 7:20 P.M., while the cannon still rum- 
bled, a large American vehicle knocked the 
last remaining German elements out of Ver- 
sailles and made them retreat in disorder 
afong the tracks of the subway. At 7:30, 
only a few meters from the C.P., across the 


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barricades and while the enemy still held 
many outposts in the vicinity, Major Clif- 
ford L. Graves of New York City and the 
U. S. Army, together wich several other 
American officers arrived in front of the 
town hall of Versailles, He was accompanied 
by Captain Girardin who is in charge of 
the Medical Committee of the Resistance 
Movement. A delirious crowd, the word is 
not too strong, assembled in a few minutes 

The great vehicle which brought them 
was covered with flowers and the flags of 

the United Nations The first act of 

Major Graves was to put himself in touch 
with the French medical services and inquire 
into the medical needs of the French popu- 

A reception was organized practically 
under the spark of the machine guns and 
the muzzle of the cannon by Monsieur Ser- 
getan, mayor of Versailles, in the presence 
of the principal members of the Resistance 
Movement and hundreds of others , . . * . 

Little did I think when I first started 
working on mobile surgical units that my 
graride voiture would knock the last remain- 
ing German elements out of Versailles. When 
I think of it now, it still seems like a 
dream. But it is no dream to the American 
soldiers who fetl to make it come true and 
whose wounds I know too we!!. The tribute 
we received was meant for them. May they 
rest in the knowledge that their sacrifice 
has not been in vain. 

The next day Paris woke up, a free city 
once more. The last German bastions had 
fallen at eight o clock the previous evening 
although fighting did not cease for many 
hours after that. The newspapers told us 
what had been going on at the time we were 
caught in the fire on the Rue de Versailles, 
While the suburbs had been fairly well 

cleaned out by then, the Germans were put- 
ting up a desperate last-ditch resistance in 
their strongholds around the Place de la 
Concorde which is the Times Square of 
Paris, These strongholds included such 
famous buildings as the Hotel Crillon, the 
Senate Building, the Chambre des Deputes, 
the Kommandamur on the Place de TOpera, 
and the Jardins de Luxembourg. As late as 
seven o'clock (which is just about the time 
we would have gotten there, had we not 
turned back) , the Germans opened fire 
from the top of the Arc de Triomphe and 
turned the Champs Elysees into a shambles. 
They had posted their machine guns on the 
housetops whence they could be dislodged 
only by heroic means. Here is a typical 
story told to me by a French girl who wit- 
nessed it from beginning to end. 

Friday noon, six German soldiers demand- 
ed entry to the apartment house where she 
and her mother made their home. The sol- 
diers barricaded themselves in a cop-floor 
room and opened fire on the crowds in the 
street below. You might wonder why the 
people dared show themselves during this 
phase of the hostilities. Fact of the matter 
is that they got a terrific bang out of seeing 
the Germans rooted out. They would risk 
their lives to be present. I have already said 
how the street would fill with civilians five 
minutes after the shooting stopped. Well, 
so it was here. All afternoon, partisans tried 
to smoke the Jerries out, but without suc- 
cess. Finally, a white flag appeared at the 
window. A partisan advanced, only to fall 
under a volley of shots before he had taken 
a dozen steps. This too was not uncommon. 
The Germans defend such tactics on the 
ground that the partisans were really only 
armed civilians and therefore had no mili- 
tary status. Naturally, the populace became 
enraged. Then, someone got hold of a ba- 
zooka which blasted a hole in the wall large 
enough to put a piano through. Then the 
mob (it was pretty much a free-for-all by 


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now) rushed the house and lynched che 
survivors by throwing them to the street 

At the Grand Palais, as fine a building as 
Paris has, the Germans started a fire by send- 
ing a burning tank towards its walls. At the 
Senate building, it took tanks to dislodge 
them. At the Hotel Crillon, they seized 
hostages and tried to get away by having 
the hostages walk out in front. But the best 
story comes from the Kommandantur, the 
German General Headquarters in Paris, The 
high-ranking officers here put up only a 
token resistance and then sent out word that 
they were ready to surrender, but only to 
soldiers, not to partisans. When this did not 
work, they slowly came out, each one loaded 
down with as much of the accumulated loot 
of four years as he could carry. Arrived 
on the street, they had the crust to sit down 
on their suitcases and demand transporta- 
tion to a place of safety! The crowd just 

howled at that. Quickly the generals became 
separated from their suitcases and were made 
to march down the Rue de la Paix in custody 
of the partisans. To appreciate the full ig- 
nominy of this, one must know that the 
partisans for the most part were just boys 
of seventeen and eighteen with only an arm- 
band to identify their military status. The 
spectacle of von Choltitz' clique marching 
down the street in the hands of such "f ranc- 
tireurs" must have been a supreme gratifica- 
tion to the Parisians. 

Such was the Paris we entered on Saturday 
morning. Once again we crossed the Seine, 
once more we reached the Rue de Versailles, 
but this time there were no shots, only 
crowds and crowds of Frenchmen in their 
most colorful costumes. It was a day such 
as Paris had not seen in all its history and 
the Parisians have not forgotten how to be 
gay, 1 can assure you of that. 

The crowd howled 

3 r^ 


Everything cooperated to make the spec- 
tacle glittering. The sun shone brightly from 
a cloudless sky. Every house, almost every 
window sported a flag, be it the Tricolor, 
the Stars and Stripes, the Union Jack, or 
the Hammer and Sickle, Sidewalk cafes were 
jammed from early morning till late at 
night with laughing, gesticulating, voluble 
Frenchmen who could speak their minds 
once more. Crowds gathered at every inter- 
section to cheer the military vehicles or hoot 
the small groups of German prisoners that 
were still being rounded up. Every F.F.I. 
tank had at least one good-looking girl 
perched on the turret. Loudspeakers in the 
street resounded with the Marseillaise, the 
Star Spangled Banner, or God Save the King 
at every opportunity. Hundreds of bicycles, 
their metal frames painted in flamboyant 
colors, made the scene into a kaleidoscope. 
Paris was ablaze. 

And then there were the women. Every- 
body knows that Parisian women are famous 
for their clothes, their elegance, and their 
spirit, but it is quite impossible to describe 

how they appeared on this day of days. 
They were a symphony of color, motion, and 
fragrance. A Paris ienne might go without 
her dinner but she would never go without 
that indefinable something called chic. Not 
even wartime rationing has affected that. 
True, she has had to overcome many handi- 
caps, but she still has her silk stockings and 
her perfumes and she moves with equal 
grace on her wooden-soled shoes and on her 
bicycle. Yes, even on her bicycle. Wc saw 
thousands of them, immaculately made up 
and exquisitely dressed, riding their bicycles 
with the easy skill and nonchalance of the 
expert. Later In the day I borrowed a bicycle 
so that I might join in the melee on the 
Champs Elysees and I soon found myself 
talking to one of these creatures. She was 
of charming and distinguished appearance 
and she handled her lightweight machine 
with its underslung handlebars like a vet- 
eran. We went to the Ritfc for cocktails and 
she introduced me to her crowd. They were 
all titled French nobility and her husband 
was a Russian prince! In what other city 

Major Grave* bomwid a bicycle from a Russian prince**. 

-i i_ 


in the world could a princess ride a bicycle 
without losing her dignity? 

But to return to our entry into the city. 
Greeted everywhere as the heroes of the 
hour, we made a slow circle tour of the city. 
Wt started at the Eiffel Tower and never 
stopped for three hours. Three hours of 
viewing all this color and gaiety against a 
background of old, historic Paris! The Tuil- 
teries, the Palais de Louvre, the Notre Dame. 
Monuments of other days. The Rue de la 
Paix, Place de l'Opera, lie de la Cite, Boule- 
vard Hausmann, Avenue de la Grande Ar- 
mee, all these names that are so familiar to 
anyone who has ever read a book about Paris 
now became living pictures, pulsating with 
the first intoxication of a new freedom. 

Paris is a city of wide avenues and sweep- 
ing views, of grand statues and lovely parks, 
of fine buildings and beautiful shops, and 
fortunately most of this has escaped Allied 
bombings. It is only in the factory areas, 
well out in the suburbs that one sees the 
effects of well -aimed aerial attacks, I asked 
a number of Frenchmen how they felt about 

this destruction of their property. If there 
ever was any resentment, it has been quickly 
and completely replaced by profound grati- 

Wherever we stopped, we would be sur- 
rounded in a few seconds by a group of 
excited* curious people who would bombard 
us with questions and vie for the opportun- 
ity of welcoming us. It was a matter of 
honor for them to talk to the first Americans 
and to offer us what hospitality they could. 
This applied to high and low alike. They 
all insisted on showing us the sights, buying 
us drinks, and confiding their sorrows. From 
the upper crust at the Ritz to the humble 
scrubwoman at the Notre Dame, all of 
them wanted to do something- Thus it was 
that our round trip of the city lasted all 
morning and part of the afternoon and left 
us completely hoarse from shouting Vive la 
France and Vive VAmertque. Now I can 
see why popular heroes become surfeited 
with public attention. 

At one o'clock we arrived on the Champs 
Elysees and since General de Gaulle's march 

The victory parade- 


3 i_ 


was scheduled to take place at three, we 
decided to park the grand? voiturc right 
there and continue on foot. Two minutes 
later, our party of six was hopelessly scat- 
tered among the celebrating Parisians. 
Claude started grinding out pictures, Dick 
practised his French on a French reporter. 
EI was overwhelmed by a loquacious 
Jonairicrc. Horn and Lewis made for the 
nearest sidewalk cafe. And as for me, T 
started down the avenue on a cycle with 
four sprockets and a double chainwheeK No 
wonder we never got together again until 
it was time to go home. 

The Champs did present an unforgettable 
spectacle on that afternoon, Imagine a mil- 
lion Frenchmen, completely filling an avenue 
several hundreds yards wide and a mile long. 
Put at one end the majestic Arc de Triomphe 
and at the other the enormous Place de la 
Concorde, Line the thoroughfare with a 
double row of giant trees. Picture buildings 
In the continental style, not too tall but full 
of dignity. Paint in ten thousand bicycles, 
each one surmounted by a graceful figure, 
male or female. Think of all the color in 

half a million women's dresses. Visualize a 
roof of azure. Add a background of flags, 
decorations, banners, and the panoply of vic- 
tory. Now put in the middle of all this the 
whole Second Armored Division of the F. 
F.T. and, of course, six members of the Third 
Auxiliary Surgical Group, Voila Its Champs. 
At half past two. General de Gaulle ap- 
peared under the Arc, accompanied by a 
few members of his staff and General Le- 
clerc of the F.F.I. There was a moment of 
silence and then a tremendous clamor arose 
out of a million throats: de Gaulle, de Gaulle, 
Vive de Gaulle. His general's uniform im- 
peccable, his kepi easily a foot above thost 
of his entourage, he slowly walked towards 
the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and paid 
homage with a wreath of gladioli and a cross 
of roses. One could have heard a pin drop. 
Then, in the crowded stillness of that poig- 
nant moment, a bugler blew taps and all of 
France's grief seemed to pour forth in those 
liquid, pathetic tones. For a minute, no 
one stirred. But in another instant, the 
strains of the Marseillaise welled up, first 
around the Arc, then from the entire Place 

The grandi veitvr* an the Chomps tlysees. 



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de I'Etoile, finally down the Champs in a 
vibrating* jubilant fervor that soared over 
all of Paris and could be heard the world 
over. And from the height of his granite 
pedestal Pere la Victoire looked down on 
this scene in silent approval of a task well 

For the victory parade which now fol- 
lowed, there was no pomp and circumstance, 
no honor guard in flamboyant costume, no 
massed defile of picked troops, no lowslung 
limousines a la Hitler, no display of armored 
might. It was just de Gaulle, walking at 
the head of his aides and followed by General 
Leclerc. On Broadway it would not even 
have stopped one traffic light. But on the 
Champs Elysees it was everything. Time and 
again, tumultuous cheers would reverberate 
over the hallowed ground and the General 
would lift his head, raise his hand in the 
military salute, and survey the scene of his 

At the Place de la Concorde he listened 

again to the Marseillaise, At the Hotel de 
Ville he was given the honors by a small 
guard of Spahis. At the Cathedral of Notre 
Dame he attended a Te Deum under the 
same vaults that had witnessed the corona- 
tion of Napoleon, the baptism of Louis XIV, 
and the burial of Charles II. But no sovereign 
of France has ever had such a demonstration 
of gratitude and loyalty as de Gaulle, be- 
cause he symbolizes the will to be free. That 
will outlives the greatest armies in the world. 
And now the highpoint of my story is 
inevitably over. What if I told you that 
German snipers all along the victory route 
opened fire the very minute de Gaulle en- 
tered the cathedral? What if I said that 
Paris newspapers estimated their number at 
over 100,000? What if I pointed out that 
Claude and Lou on the front fenders were 
sitting-duck targets all that Saturday morn- 
ing? What if I marveled at how our vehicle, 
the largest and most conspicuous on the 
Champs, could have been missed? What if 

A million Frenchmen welcomed the Third Auiers. 


I rhapsodized all over again about the French 
audacity, their warmheartedness, their sim- 
plicity? What if I gave an account of the 
celebrations that evening? It would all be 
an anti-climax. For us, the whole war will 
always be concentrated in that one single 
day. No use elaborating any further. Later, 
we will show you the pictures, the souvenirs, 
the trophies. All I wanted to do this time is 
give you some idea of how it feels to meet 
the liberated people of Europe. If I have 
succeeded, you will join me with Vive la 
France, Vive de Gaulle t Vive VAmcrique. 

While Major Graves and his teammates 
were thus getting acquainted with Paris and 
the Parisians, Third Aux Headquarters 
moved to Senonches, eighteen miles to the 
west. This site became a concentration point 
for medical units that were waiting to catch 
up with the front. 

These units were mainly field hospitals 
and evacuation hospitals. Of the two, field 
hospitals were the more mobile. The First 
Army Surgeon now devised a plan to fill 
the medical void at the front. Triage at the 
clearing station would no longer separate 
transportables from non-transportables. All 
wounded would go to the field hospital. 
These hospitals would function as first- 
priority and second -priority installations 
with all three platoons concentrated at one 
point. Extra Third Aux teams would be 
brought up. Evacuation hospitals would be 
eliminated for the time being. 

The plan went into operation immediate- 
ly but it failed to come up to expectations. 
With transportation critically low, there 
were never enough ambulances to keep the 
casualties moving and as a result the field 
hospital bogged down. Third Aux teams 
that worked under these conditions became 
greatly discouraged. Their mortality rates 
went up and the whole experience merely 

Th« parvji at Notre Dome on 26 Auguxf, 

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underscored the fact that separate hospitals 
for the severely wounded are an absolute 
necessity. Fortunately, the impasse came 
to an end in the middle of September when 
the lines again became stable. 

The Blitzkrieg lasted from I August till 
1 5 September during which time First Army 
covered the astounding distance of four 
hundred miles. The axis of advance was first 
east to Paris, then north to Belgium, and 
finally east again, so that the troops came to 
face that part of the Siegfried Line skirting 
Belgium and Luxembourg. It was a line 
stretching a hundred miles from north to 
south and it held First Army at bay for a 
full five months. 

The first two weeks of September were 
still full of good news. Brussels fell on 3 
September, Antwerp on the 4th, Namur on 
the Jth, Sedan on the 7th, and Liege on the 
8th, The Meuse was crossed at many points 
without heavy fighting. The Germans were 
caught with their pants down. Three whole 
divisions were cut off in the vicinity of Mons 
and wandered through the woods for days, 
much to the discomfiture of Third Auxers 
who were already operating in the area. 

On the evening of 4 September, the third 
platoon of the 47th Field Hospital received 
orders to set up south of Mons, The orders 
came in ac night, "Get going as fast as you 
can," The trucks started rolling at about 
eleven. It was pitch black. 

"I wonder how the colonel expects us to 
set up on a night [ike this/' said one of the 
drivers, his eyes glued to the road. 

"Shut up. Orders is orders.'* The voice 
came out of the dark. 

"Hell, I can't even tell where the verge is." 

"Stop a minute, I think I can <see some 

Captain Warren got out of the cab and 
advanced hesitatingly in the direction of the 
sign. Even from the verge, he could not 

make out the lettering, so he started to cross 
a shallow ditch. At this point, he realized 
that his footing was very uncertain but be- 
fore he had a chance to catch himself, his 
feet became entangled in a soft object and 
he was pitched flat on his face. His first 
thought was: "An ambush! And me with- 
out a gun!" 

Desperately he searched his pockets for 
a weapon to defend himself. All he had was 
a flashlight. Now the soft object over which 
he had fallen raised itself up. After an in- 
terminable interval during which Warren 
alternately said his prayers and tried to 
work his flashlight, the silence was broken 
not by shots but by German gutturals: 
"Kamerad!" And with that, two hands went 
up into the air. 

By this time Warren had regained his com- 
posure sufficiently to find the switch on his 
light. What he saw was a German soldier 
in battle dress. Warren could speak no Ger- 
man but he accepted the unconditional sur- 
render with appropriate gestures and took 
his quarry back to the truck, "Look what 
I found," he said. "A prisoner. I ought to 
get at least a Bronze Star for this!" Warren 
got no Bronze Scar but he has the distinction 
of being the only Third Auxer to take a 
German prisoner. 

After this delay and many detours, the 
convoy finally pulled into the field near 
Mons. Another platoon had already arrived, 
but without accomplishing more than con- 
fusion. And no wonder. Setting up a hos- 
pital in the dark is like eating soup with a 
fork: the job gets more complicated by the 
minute. Third Auxers knew that under 
such circumstances they were more useful 
in their sleeping bags. Everybody grabbed 
as many blankets as he could and stretched 
out where he was. 

With the first stirrings of dawn, activity 
began. The platoon commander marked the 
tent sites, the pitching crews laid out the 


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canvas, and the Third Auxers looked around 
for a place to shave. Then came the sudden 
rat-tat-tat of a machine gun. The fire was 
returned from another field and the hospital 
was caught in the middle. What was hap- 
pening? A band of hungry Germans had 
invaded the mess tent of a unit in a nearby 
field. Surprised, they opened fire and shot 
several cooks. In the resulting scuffle, the 
Germans had very little time to eat. Most 
of them were killed and the rest taken pris- 
oner. Later in the day, Third Auxers dis- 
covered a pile of German corpses in the 
woods. This pile grew to ghastly proportions 
in the next few days. 

In one short week, practically all of Bel- 
gium was liberated. The inhabitants were 
drunk with joy, just as the Parisians had 
been. Like the French, the Belgians are a 
high-strung and emotional people. Unlike 
the French, they had escaped the ravages of 
actual battle and consequently they were 
able to show their gratitude in a material 

General Bradicy decorate* General Hodges, 
Commanding General af First Army. 

way. Wherever the Third Auxers went, the 
people from the surrounding villages would 
come to offer delicacies : cakes and cookies, 
fresh butter, and all sorts of fruit. Third 
Auxers did their best. They ate and they ate 
and they ate. 

At other times, the welcome took a differ- 
ent form. In the little town of Jodoigne, 
Third Auxers parked their truck on the 
market place very soon after the first Amer- 
icans had swept through. There was the 
usual exchange of greetings with the burgh- 
ers and then the Third Auxers made ready- 
to depart. The crowd scattered. At the last 
moment, a bright and charming boy ran 
up. In one hand he held a flacou with an ex- 
quisite liqueur j in the other, an elegant silver 
tumbler. He never said a word. He simply 
showed a disarming smile, climbed on the 
running board, and started pouring drinks, 
as if it were the most natural thing in the 
world. And all the time he smiled. It wasn't 
the liqueur that the Third Auxers will re- 
member, although it undoubtedly repre- 
sented the family's most prized possession. 
It was that smile. That smile was more elo- 
quent than all the words the burghers had 

Meanwhile, the German resistance was 
stiffening. In spite of his severe losses, the 
enemy was able to organize his positions be- 
hind the fortifications of the West Wall. In 
the First Army sector, the first serious clashes 
took place on the approaches to Aachen. The 
southern end of the line was really no line 
at all and it was here that the Third Aux 
suffered its first road -casualties. 

As Third Aux Adjutant, Lieutenant Sen- 
senbach was on a trip to deliver mail to the 
teams. He was accompanied by Sergeants 
Mullison and Hultine. These men left Bas- 
togne on 21 September and disappeared 
without leaving a clue. For months, there 
was no word. Then the story came out. 
Let Sensenbach speak for himself. 


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"The sky was beautifully clear that morn- 
ing and the war seemed very remote. Ser- 
geants Mullison and Hultine and I had been 
out from our Headquarters at Eupen on a 
three-day trip to visit some of the more dis- 
tant teams to the north, west and south. Our 
'cargo* was the monthly pay-roll, two sacks 
of mail, some new clothing, and a few in- 
struments. We had almost completed our 
mission, having reached most of the teams 
by the end of the second day, and we stayed 
overnight with Paul Maloney, Captain Fer- 
arro, and Louis Wolfe down near Bastogne. 
Many times thereafter I was to remember 
gratefully those extra eggs which Louis in- 
sisted I have for my breakfast that morning. 
About nine o'clock we were on the road once 
more, heading back toward Eupen, We 
had completed all of our scheduled stops. 
One team with the 42nd Field Hospital had 

moved however* so we decided to stop at 
St. Vith on our way back. We had to pay 
Betty Asselin, who was with that team. St, 
Vith was not far out of our way, but it 
took us several miles closer to the German 
border than we had intended to go. Little 

did we guess 

Yes, the war seemed very remote as we 
rode along in our 'recon' which only yes- 
terday had balked considerably, but today 
seemed to have decided against stubbornness 
and was running smoothly. There was not a 
sign of war to be seen; the countryside was 
silent and untouched for a change, and we 
seemed to be the only people on the road. 
There were no Army installations along our 
route, nor any troops, and practically no 
road signs. Then, after about an hour of 
uneventful driving we came to a town called 
Clervaux, We checked our map, and found 

Third Auxers in S*. Quentin. 

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that we were in the northern tip of Luxem- 
bourg, several miles to the east of our intend- 
ed route. The colorful flags flying along the 
streets told us that the town had been lib- 
erated, but there wasn't a person, civilian or 
soldier, to be seen anywhere. Outside the 
town we finally found an EFFI boy patrol- 
ling the road with a rifle and wearing the 
usual brassard. He spoke no English and I 
no French, so I inquired in German for the 
best road to St, Vith« He advised us not 
to take the road we'd intended to take be- 
cause of enemy troops believed to be a few 
miles ahead, and instead he showed us an- 
other smaller road, which, he said, led direct- 
ly to St, VicL 

We had no reason to distrust the boy, so 
we set out as he had instructed. Within 
fifteen minutes, however, we were sorry, for 
we suddenly came upon a carefully camou- 
flaged German road-block just around the 
bend of a dangerous hairpin-curve. The 
road was very narrow, and ran around a 
sort of ledge half-way up a steep mountain- 
side. Just as we recognized the road-block 
ahead and Hultine jammed on the brakes, 
an ambushed machine gun mounted just 
over the shoulder of the road beside me 
opened up. How long the firing continued 
I've no idea, but since there was no return 
fire from us, the Germans soon ceased firing. 
About twenty soldiers came out of their 
ambush on all sides with leveled rifles. For- 
tunately neither of the sergeants was hit, and 
I had only flesh wounds in my right leg and 
could still walk fairly well. We were 
searched for weapons. Not finding any, the 
Krauts changed their attitude, I had studied 
German for six years in school, so I was able 
to talk with the non-com in charge, but I 
couldn't persuade him to release us as med- 
ical personnel. We had seen too much, he 
countered, and if he let us go, he knew he 
could expect an artillery barrage to come 
in on him within a few minutes. They treat- 
ed us surprisingly well, and allowed us to re- 

main together in our evacuation behind 
their lines. We were interrogated rather 
superficially, and they seemed chiefly con- 
cerned with our relations with Russia. When 
we refused to answer some questions we were 
not pressed or threatened, a fact which sur- 
prised me considerably. 

After a few days of evacuation by wood- 
burning truck and on foot, our daily-in- 
creasing group of American prisoners finally 
reached Stammlager (colloquially known as 
'Stalag*) VI-G atop a high plateau over- 
looking the city of Bonn and the Rhine. 
Here our "Third Aux advance party" was 
split up; the non-coms went across the 
Rhine, and I was hospitalized in a crude 
POW hospital. A young American surgeon, 
who had been captured back in the Falaise 
gap in August, was working desperately with 
a few medical aid men to care for the ill and 
wounded British and American prisoners ar- 
riving every day. They had only useless 
equipment, no sanitation, no sterilization, 
and very few medicines or drugs — only ver- 
min-infested barracks with straw sacks and 
thin, dirty blankets on wooden frames for 
beds. And each day increased the need for 
medical care for more and more men. For- 
tunately my leg healed after a few weeks, and 
I was ready to be evacuated to a regular 
POW camp in German-occupied Poland. 
However, because T could speak German, the 
doctor asked me to stay there with him as 
an interpreter and a kind of administrative 

And so it happened that for five months 
my address was Stalag VI-G, Hardthoehe, 
Duisdorf, Bonn, Rheinland, Dcutschland. 
An address, even if it was as long as that, 
meant nothing however, for no mail ever got 
through to me, and the monthly letter we 
were allowed to write seldom got past the 
formidable front gates of the camp. Until 
Christmas we had enough Red Cross pack- 
ages to give each man the equivalent of one 
every other week. This supplement to the 


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occasional porridge and the daily one-sixth 
of a loaf of sour black bread, cup of ersatz 
tea and bowl of cabbage soup (?) from the 
Germans kept us going pretty well, thanks 
to some good old American ingenuity. 

We learned much about ourselves, about 
our fellow Americans, about our Allies and 
about our enemies during those long days of 
waiting. Each day we watched hopefully 
as the Air Corps passed overhead on its end- 
less missions, and each night we watched 
the RAF bombing Cologne, WcseJing, the 
Ruhr industries, or Coblenz in the distance. 
We heard the German tanks and trucks rat- 
tling toward the front under cover of dark- 
ness, and listened anxiously for the distant 
roll of artillery, which we hoped was incom- 
ing. At first we were certain that the Yanks 
would break through to us within a few 
days or weeks at most. But the days and 
weeks passed, and winter set in. Through 
the underground channels and from the in- 
coming prisoners we learned only that our 
Armies hadn't yet broken through the for- 
midable Siegfried line completely, that sup- 
port from the rear was lacking, and that 
ammunition was running low. The rumors 
grew and grew, and we waited and hoped 
desperately that this was just the lull before 
the big push to the Rhine. Yet, black as the 
outlook was, somehow there were still smiles, 
small jokes, an attempt to keep clean, and 
to get exercise. The men even asked me to 
begin a daily class in elementary spoken Ger- 
man. And always there was the hope that 
the news would be better tomorrow ... or 
at least the day after tomorrow. 

The one brightest memory of those five 
long months at Bonn is that of our Christ- 
mas celebration. The night before Christmas 
we held a short service in one of the smaller 
buildings. There were carols, reading of the 
story of the Nativity, the Lord's Prayer, and 
a short talk by an RAF boy who was a 
patient and had been a prisoner for a year 
and a half. 

Christmas day, however, was the high 
spot, for nothing was quite so important as 
food to us ^Knegies' (our own abbreviation 
for the German word Kriegsgefangener, 
meaning prisoner of war) . For the previous 
month and a half we had denied ourselves 
the coffee, chocolate, and cocoa which came 
in our Red Cross boxes. We saved them to 
trade on the local German black market. 
There were a number of Polish prisoners who 
had been there for five years, and these men 
were taken out of the camp daily to work 
on farms, in factories, or in the cities to 
clean up bomb damage. This gave them the 
necessary contacts with civilians and the 
black market. These Poles were old-timers 
at smuggling things, and so just before 
Christmas they did our trading for us, tak- 
ing our coffee and chocolate out with them 
in the morning and bringing back such foods 
as potatoes and bread in the evening. 

In our inner compound, where the hos- 
pital was located, we had fewer guards 
watching us. On Christmas morning we 

Lieutenant Sensenbach, 


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worked in groups of twos over five small 
stoves, burning stolen coal-dust briquettes, 
to prepare our dinner. We couldn't smuggle 
in enough food for all the patients, so we 
made them the best dinner we could. Then 
the permanent personnel, who had run the 
hospital since September, had their smug- 
gled dinner in the doctors* room. We had 
an evergreen tree, decorated with small red 
apples, cellophane packing from Red Cross 
parcels, and silver paper dropped by our Air 
Corps to confuse the Kraut*s radar instru- 
ments. Bed sheets on three small tables but- 
ted end-to-end, a few apples and some ever* 
green twigs placed in the center of the table, 
a crockery bow! and a tin cup for each 
person, a fork or spoon for every two or 
three men completed our setting. We had 
hors d'oeuvres of pilchards on toasted white 
bread, a thin soup made from bouillon pow- 
der and onions stolen from the garden the 
n ight be fore, roas ted goose (sm uggled in 
alive two weeks before and kept alive until 
the day before when it was killed and cleaned 
in an air raid shelter, and then roasted by 
the Frenchmen who ran the camp cook- 
house), mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, 
dressing, giblet gravy, corned beef hash, 
white Rhein wine, rice pudding, fried fruit 
pies (made by an infantry lieutenant from 
Oklahoma who had one leg in a plaster cast) , 
coffee, cheese and crackers, American ciga- 
rettes, and red wine. We made the most of 
the occasion. We stretched our dinner from 
one o'clock until six and sang every English 
and American song we could remember. 
That day, if never again, we had enough 
to eat. Strained though it was, that Christ- 
mas dinner will never be forgotten by those 
fifteen men, nor by the starved Russians to 
whom we gave the food that was left over. 

As I said, Christmas was our high spot. 
From then on, our luck seemed to run out. 
Three days later, on an incredibly foggy 
night, the RAF came over; they missed their 
target and their incendiary bombs rained 

down upon our hospital. The only perma- 
nent buildings we had, containing all our 
beds, our medical supplies, our clothes and 
our food all burned completely. There was 
no water to fight the fire, and the electric 
current was cut off. Somehow we got all 
the patients out of the buildings, and not 
one American or British life was lost. The 
other prisoners were not so fortunate. For 
the survivors there was untold chaos and 
misery ahead. After about a week the Ger- 
man colonel in charge of our hospital came 
around in a perfunctory manner to see how 
many of us still survived. He seemed dis- 
appointed to find so many still to be fed. 

The next month was a long, hard one. We 
tried to reestablish our hospital in some flim- 
sy frame barracks which previously had 
housed only Russians dying of tuberculosis. 
The days were cloudy and cold. News came 
of the slaughter in the Bulge. Hundreds of 
starved, beaten, dying prisoners began to 
stream in. Our miserable little hospital 
did not even have paper bandages for the 
hundreds of frost-bitten feet, or drugs for 
the endless dysentery cases. And then the 

RAF came back This time they 

dropped not only incendiaries but powerful 
concussion bombs as well. Somehow we got 
through that night without a casualty, but 
when the cold morning light filtered through 
the rain there was not a wall standing. Evac- 
uation across the Rhine began immediately. 

We were marched over to Siegburg to 
await rail transportation. Locked for three 
days in a warehouse in the factory district 
of that town, we sweated out the air raids. 
When at last we were taken down to the 
rail yards and loaded into box cars, the sirens 
wailed again. The planes didn't bomb or 
strafe Siegburg. That night the train pulled 

We were sent to Limburg, twenty -six 
miles east of Coblent/.. There I spent the 
worst month of all. That place was so bad, 
it simply defies description. It was at Lim- 


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burg that I first learned of the capture of 
the other Third Auxers. None of them was 
still there. (They had passed through a 
month before,) But Major Huber of the 
42nd Field Hospital (the one 1 was trying 
to reach at St. Vith) was still there, and 
from him I got the story of what had hap- 

As spring approached, the news got better 
and the air raids came nearer. Every day 
there were several bombs dropped on the rail 
yards just over the hill from our barracks, 
and one night sixty American officers were 
kilted when a bomb intended for the town 
fell short and hit a barracks building. 
Toward the end of February there were wild 
rumors of evacuation, and soon large groups 
of prisoners began to be moved out, I was 
one of the last Americans to leave. I'd been 
hoping to stay as long as possible in the hope 
of recapture, but when the Americans 
crossed the Rhine in early March I was 

There were only eight American officers 
left by that time. We were taken by guards 
on civilian trains down to Frankfurt, where 
we sweated out a long daylight bombing in 
a rat-infested dungeon beneath the floor of 
the railroad station. That evening we start- 
ed out once more, this time for Bad Orb, 
well publicized in the pictures in Life maga- 
zine. When we arrived at Bad Orb at two 
o'clock the next morning we found that the 
camp didn't take officers. That meant a 
few more nights on trains crowded with 
refugees and their household goods. 

Eventually we reached our destination, an 
officers' camp built on a mountain top in 
northern Bavaria above the picturesque town 
of Hammelburg. It was the best organized 
camp I had seen, but what meant more to 
me was that as I entered the gate, I met 
Charlie Serbst! Harry Fisher, Gene Galvin, 
and Saul Dworkin were there too, and did 
we ever have a reunionf It wasn't like the 

old parties in England perhaps, but the spirit 
was the same! The food in the camp was 
pretty awful most of the time, but morale 
was high. Everyone tried to keep as clean 
as possible, a series of diversified lectures was 
organized, and above all, the weather was 
warm and the sun cheering. After a few 
weeks, the artillery began to rumble once 
more, and, as always, the rumors grew with 
the noise. Evacuate! Those men knew what 
it meant. They had marched 3 JO miles 
from Poland in the middle of winter! 

The order came on 27 March at about 
four o'clock. We were to be ready to leave 
by 7:30 that night. Hastily we began to tie 
our meager belongings of cans, boxes and 
rags together, but Fate and General Pat- 
ton *s tanks interrupted our preparations. 
At 4:30 there was a sudden burst of gunfire 
followed by volleys from large and small 
weapons. Then over a hilltop to the north- 
east a Sherman tank poked its nose. The 
camp went wild. Other tanks came into 
view on all sides, followed by infantrymen. 
The front lines had reached us at last! The 
Germans put up a token defense but, with- 
in an hour, the firing ceased and the tanks 
came smashing through the barbed-wire en- 
tanglements. Then we learned the truth. 

No, the lines hadn't caught up with us; 
this was only a special task force from the 
4th Armored sent by General Patton to lib- 
erate us, and they had blasted their way for 
sixty miles through the German lines. We 
would have to hurry. By riding on the tanks 
and half-tracks we might get back. Or, if 
we wanted to try it, we could strike out on 
our own. The men poured out. Hundreds 
climbed on the tanks and half-tracks until 
nothing could be seen but the tracks be- 
neath a huge mass of men. 

Of course the Germans knew of this task 
force, and they were waiting for us with 
their tanks, bazookas and hastily-built road- 
blocks. The story of that night would make 


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a book in itself. It ended in a complete fiasco, 
A few men were able to get through the 
lines, among them Charlie Serbst, but most 
of the 'liberated* prisoners were recaptured 
by the S.S. troops who combed the woods 
for days. All of the task force men were 
either killed or captured. There was only 
one thing ahead — another evacuation. 

This time it was a box-car to Nurnberg, 
We were unloaded outside the walls of Hit- 
ler's spectacular Sports Palast, the scene of 
the annual mass meetings of the Nazi party. 
The camp was a mile or two away. When 
we arrived we found that all the British and 
American ground and air force officers were 
being evacuated to this camp from all over 
the rapidly-dwindling Reich, The men lived 
in large canvas tents and slept on straw. Each 
day more marching columns of prisoners 
arrived from Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, 
Italy, and northern Germany. Organization 
was beginning to appear when the familiar 
distant thunder was heard once more. The 
Allied armies were advancing on Nurnberg! 

The Germans were not slow about getting 
us on the move this time. AH those able to 
march were started out on the road. The 
remainder, who were either too ill or too 
crippled to march, were loaded into a long 
train of box cars. Harry Fisher and I, who 
had stuck together since the abortive lib- 
eration of Hammelburg, were assigned as 
medical personnel. Our destination was 
Moosburg. We started out for Regensburg, 
but just before we got there, the rail yards 
were bombed out, so we had to return to 
Nurnberg and start out again, this time 
down through Tngolstadt on the Danube, 
Our luck held out miraculously, for we had 
no sooner passed through the center of Ingol- 
stadt when the sirens wailed their warning, 
and from a spot six miles outside the city 
we watched wave after wave of heavies blast 
the rail center we had just passed through. 
But wc were not to escape completely, for 
the heavy bombers had a fighter escort who 

spotted our train and came down upon us 
before we were aware of them. They strafed 
the train, but concentrated their attention 
on the engine. The box cars were unlocked, 
and it was unbelievable how rapidly those 
crippled boys could run across the plowed 
fields to find cover in a ditch. Fortunately 
only one man was hit. His right fibula was 
shot away completely. At first it looked 
as though we'd have to attempt an ampu- 
tation right there in the field. He was for- 
tunate in having an orthopedic surgeon right 
there. I had stolen all sorts of medical sup- 
plies from the Krauts at Nurnberg and 
some others were found on the train, so there 
in that field, using water from the bullet- 
riddled engine, we fixed up our patient, 
complete with a plaster cast, just as if we 
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By the time we got to Moosburg, we were 
ready for just about anything. The Krauts 
were in a state of chaos. They had long feared 
that the end was approaching. Now that 
it was upon them, they were hopelessly con- 
fused. A nation of followers, they were 
without a leader to look to for orders. As 
the lines advanced, we followed the battle 
on our maps, and hopefully listened to every 
rumor. Of course the big question was not 
ivbcti would they reach us, but would wc be 
evacuated before they could reach us. We 
have since been told that Hitler ordered all 
the American and British officers evacuated 
to the Austrian Alps to be held as hostages. 
Then, when there was not even time to 
evacuate us, he ordered us all shot! For- 
tunately, the Army was disintegrating, and 
the order was not carried out. At about this 
time, through the offices of the International 
Red Cross, an agreement was reached not to 
evacuate prisoners in the face of advancing 
Allied armies. We sighed with relief and 
just waited. 

We organized ourselves into regiments, 
companies, and platoons to make our return 
more efficient, and I was placed in charge 
of medical and food supplies for the camp 
hospital. When our liberation finally took 
place on the 29th of April, a Sunday morn- 
ing, I was busy in the hospital, where I 
couldn't see any of the excitement. There 
was a short skirmish in the woods outside 
the camp, for there were still some fanatical 
S.S, men who tried to prevent our liberation. 
The resistance was soon overcome, and I 
heard the roar of the prisoners welcoming 
the tankers as they came crashing through 
the gates. I could not help but think of 
another day, a month before, when I had 
heard a similar welcome and I wondered . . . 

As I boarded that C-47 at the Ingolstadt 
airport two weeks later I guess I must have 
looked like a Bill Mauldin cartoon, for I had 
on a blue cotton overseas cap with a red cross 
sewed on one side, a Czech cavalry overcoat 

(the kind with the large skirt designed to 
cover the horse too), a collarless English 
army shirt, a pair of French army trousers, 
and a pair of brilliant orange woolen base- 
ball socks from Sweden, But cartoon or not, 
I was free at last after almost eight months 
of captivity, and I was on my way home! 

We were flown to Rheims, taken by hos- 
pital train to Le Havre, and on my birthday 
I boarded a boat bound for the States. Imag- 
ine my surprise when I found that First 
Army Headquarters was on the same ship, 
and with them was Colonel Crisler! Talk 
about a reunion! By coincidence the boat 
docked just two years and two days after I 
had left the States bound for England and 
the Third Aux. What's more, I got home 
on 6 June, the anniversary of the Normandy 

Well, that's my story. As 1 look back 
over it, I see that I've really just skimmed 
the surface. Someday when we all get to- 
gether for a reunion, you corner me if you 
are interested, and Til tell you about the 
Kriegies' ingenious wood -burning stoves, 
about Green Hornet soup and black bread 
pudding* about the air raids on Bonn and 
Cologne, about the German civilians, about 
the songs around a tiny hospital stove when 
there was no electricity, about the interest- 
ing cases we had in our hospital, about the 
time when I had to give anesthesia while the 
surgeon operated with an old razor blade, 
and about all sorts of things. Yes, Third 
Auxers have much to talk about. It was a 
great outfit and I, for one, am proud to 
have belonged to it." 

Senscnbach was not the first Third Auxer 
to feel the sting of the German troops that 
were left to defend the Reich. At the mo- 
ment of his capture eight other Third Aux- 
ers were already in a corner. This was 
Major CrandalPs team. 


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"When the drive for Germany began to 
lose its momentum the Allies decided on a 
daring attempt to by-pass the West Wall. 
For this venture a whole airborne army was 
to be delivered along a sixty-mile strip from 
Eindhoven in the south to Arnhem in the 
north. Through this corridor the British 
would swiftly push their troops, rush for the 
Zuyder Zee, cut off the Germans to the west, 
and open up a road to the east. Planning 
started on 10 September. The 101st Air- 
borne was to seize the sixteen-mile stretch 
from Eindhoven to Uden. The 82nd Air- 
borne was to seize the bridges at Grave and 
Nijmegen. The British 1st Airborne and a 
Polish brigade were to seize Arnhem and 
exploit to the north. A carpet would unroll. 
If successful, operation MARKET GAR- 
DEN would deal a death blow to the Ger- 

Although the plan itself had to be worked 
out in great haste, the troops were seasoned 
veterans who needed only the briefest kind 
of indoctrination. The flat terrain of Hol- 
land made any number of drop zones pos- 
sible. In the 101st area, Zon would be as- 
saulted by the *06th Parachute Infantry. 
Farther north the 502nd would establish 
itself at St. Oedenrode and the JOlst at Vec- 
hel. Mindful of the great difficulties of a 
night drop. General Brereton boldly decided 
that this operation would come off in broad 
daylight. The Allies had come a long way. 

The medical plans kept pace with the tac- 
tical plans. In Normandy the 101st had 
landed its surgical team with the first wave, 
well before H Hour, while the 82nd had 
chosen to hold its team back until the eve- 
ning of D Day, The same pattern prevailed 
in the MARKET operation. Major Crandall 
felt strongly that his men should be in the 
vanguard because even a twelve-hour delay 
in surgery might jeopardize the lives of the 
seriously wounded. He therefore placed his 
team with advance elements of the 326th 
Medical Company which would be landed 

at H plus 1. On the next day the rest of 
the medical company would be flown in> 
together with a whole platoon of the 50th 
Field Hospital and one First Aux team. The 
First Aux team-leader, Major Witter, would 
be a member of CrandalPs party. 

In point of medical supplies, the operation 
far exceeded anything that had gone before. 
Six gliders in the advance wave would carry 
enough equipment for a streamlined clear- 
ing station. For the later wave, sixty-four 
gliders were made available and these would 
deliver practically a complete field hospital 
platoon. Nothing was overlooked* Gener- 
ators, autoclaves, x-ray machines, stoves, op- 
erating tables, every imaginable item would 
be floated down from the skies, either in 
gliders or by parachute. Only the Americans 
could afford to be so prodigal. 

D Day dawned cold and gray at Rams- 
burg Park, the take-off point. As the morn- 
ing wore on, the skies began to clear and 
the Third Auxers fell to discussing their 
chances. Would daylight help them or 
hinder them? It all depended on luck and 
air cover. For Rodda at least, the day start- 
ed unlucky. 

Just as his glider was taking to the air, 
the tow rope broke. The glider dived sharp- 
ly downward, scraped some trees, and ca- 
reened to a stop at the edge of the field. 
The men were shaken up but not enough 
to keep them on the ground. The rope was 
spliced. The glider was wheeled back. The 
men climbed in. Twenty minutes later they 
were in the air again. Twenty minutes de- 
lay. It did not seem much but it meant that 
they would have no fighter protection. What 
a way to start a trip. 

The route lay across southern England 
and the Strait of Dover. Visibility was ex- 
cellent. Just as Rodda caught his first glimpse 
of the Continent he saw a life-raft bobbing 
up and down on the restless waters of the 


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English Channel. A dozen paratroopers 
were clinging to its sides. 

"Look," he said to the pilot. "Those poor 
fellows. I bet that water is cold today." 

"Maybe," was the answer. "But they are 
going to sleep in a warm bed tonight and 
we sleep in the open — if we sleep." 

While Rodda was thus left to ponder, the 
advance elements of the armada were al- 
ready approaching the landing zone. At 
Bourg-Leopold they made a right-angle turn 
and a few minutes later they passed over the 
front lines. Still no enemy interference. 
The Germans were caught napping. But not 
for long. The head of the column escaped 
but the tail-end suffered. Six gliders disin- 
tegrated in mid-air, Crandall's men kept 
their eyes glued on the road below. Orienta- 
tion was easy. They skirted Eindhoven, 
picked up "the road," and spotted the Wil- 
helmina Canal. Now for the landing. But 
what was that? An 88! 

The gun was situated on the canal, several 
hundred yards west of the road. A few 
minutes earlier it had opened fire on para- 
troopers who were advancing on the bridge. 
A bazooka man had sneaked around the 
back. At the very moment Crandall's glider 
appeared overhead, this man let fly. The 
gun was disabled and the crew scattered, 
Crandall's glider skimmed over the top and 
came down in the assembly area to the north. 

Of the seventy gliders, six were lost. The 
medical personnel was intact except for the 
usual bruises and black eyes. Crandall suf- 
fered a severe sprain of the knee but the ex- 
citement was so high, he hardly noticd it. 
There was work to be done. He made a tally 
of his men. Rodda was missing! 

Rodda was taking it on the chin. Flying 
low over a countryside that was now thor- 
oughly alerted, tow-plane and glider were 
buffeted unmercifully. At one point two 
shells exploded simultaneously on either side 




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of the flimsy craft. The glider was riddled 
but the concussion of one shell neutralized 
that of the other and the pilot was able to 
avert a fatal side-slip. No one was injured 
and the only result of the terrific punish- 
ment was that the tow-plane pilot became 
confused and cut the glider loose too soon. 
It landed in an undefended pasture from 
where Rodda was able to make his way to 

Casualties had already been gathered up. 
The medics pitched a tent and the Third 
Auxers gave preliminary treatment. In the 
midst of this, there was a terrific explosion. 
The Germans had blown the bridge, the 
very bridge over which the British were to 
advance. This was bad news but the para- 
troopers did not let it interfere with their 
sense of humor. A company commander 

was receiving first aid for a shell wound 
when he was hit again, this time by a bullet. 
"Hurry up, medics,"' he wisecracked. "The 
Krauts are gaining on you." 

Nevertheless, the blowing of the bridge 
was a serious setback. It isolated the 1 01st 
and it delayed the capture of Eindhoven a 
full day. Rut the Third Auxers had other 
things to worry about. Towards the end of 
the afternoon Crandall went on a reconnais- 
sance with the commanding officer of the 
medical company. They had spotted a large 
building that looked like a hospital and they 
were anxious to see if it could be used. The 
building proved to be a large tuberculosis 
sanatorium and the Dutch doctors and 
nurses received the Americans with open 
arms. This was their day of liberation. An 
entire wing was put at the disposal of the 



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medical company and before dark, all casual- 
ties had been transferred. In spite of his 
now very painful knee, Crandall supervised 
all the arrangements, He selected his operat- 
ing theater, deployed his men, organized the 
triage, and undertook the first surgery him- 
self with the knowledge born of experience. 
By midnight more than a hundred casualties 
had been operated on! 

On D plus 1 the second wave arrived with 
the rest of the medical company, the field 
hospital, and the First Aux team. The sit- 
uation at Vechel where the hospital was to 
set up was unsettled and the men went to 
work at Zon for the time being. 

At the end of D Day the 101st Airborne 
was solidly entrenched along its stretch of 
road but much hard fighting was in store* 

Zon from the air. The hoi pita I building 

The landings had not come as a complete 
surprise to the Germans and they took coun- 
ter-measures immediately. New divisions 
were moved in, especially tank divisions, and 
the 101st was woefully short of anti-tank 
weapons. The full effect of these counter- 
measures became apparent during the next 
few days. The 101st was fighting with its 
back against the walk It had to keep the 
enemy away from two fronts, each sixteen 
miles in length. It had to expand to the 
north and to the south. And it had to guard 
its lines of communication. Under such con- 
ditions it was impossible to pursue a pre- 
arranged plan. Units had to be moved from 
one trouble spot to another at the spur of 
the moment. The situation at Zon was a 
good example. 

it plainly shown in the left Foreground. 



3 a. 


4 9 


1 * 

i V 


German strategy aimed at cutting the 
corridor at its base which was at Zon. The 
town housed Division Headquarters but 
was otherwise very thinly held. On D plus 
1 heavy fighting developed at Best, several 
miles away, and Zon was stripped of every- 
thing except for Headquarters personnel and 
a bunch of free-lancing glider-pilots whose 
exit had been cut ofT by the blowing of the 
bridge* On D plus 2 there were reports that 
German tanks were approaching from the 
southeast. A reconnaissance party located 
them a few hundred yards south of the 
bridge. The Germans opened fire and, by 
the weight of their armor, drove the Amer- 
icans back. German tanks could easily have 
captured the Division Command Post as 
well as the clearing station but they were 
discouraged by a few well-placed shots from 
a 57 mm gun (the only one in Zon) and 
they retreated for the day. This attack un- 
derscored the vulnerable situation and the 
field hospital was moved out. It went to 

Vechel where at the moment things were 
more quiet. 

Early in the morning of D plus 3 a strong 
force of the 107th Panzer Brigade was de- 
ployed south of the Wilhelmina Canal. A 
two-jeep patrol set out to find them. Always 
a glutton for punishment, Dworkin went 
along for the ride. The jeeps crossed the 
bridge, turned east, and advanced along a 
narrow byroad- Here they met a British 
armored car which had come up around 
Eindhoven. British and Americans decided 
to continue their reconnaissance together. 
The British vehicle, having more protection, 
took the lead. Suddenly the driver became 
aware of a body of troops directly ahead. 
They seemed to be crossing the road but in 
the darkness it was difficult to tell who they 
were. The three vehicles stopped and an 
American captain walked up to the armored 
car to see what the delay was. Spotting the 
shadowy figures in the distance, he said to 
the Britishers: 



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"Who are these men, Colonel?" 

"Why, they are some of your chaps* aren't 

"Like hell they are! They're Krauts. Let's 

get out of here." 

Everybody piled in but the road was so 
narrow that the vehicles could not turn 
around. Slowly and noisily the motorcade 
backed out. By this time the Germans too 
realized that something was wrong and they 
opened fire- Dworkin made himself as small 
as possible in the jeep. With bullets whip- 
ping around his ears he made his way back 
to the hospital. It wasn't a joy-ride after all. 

The fight for Zon which now developed 
took place within spitting distance of the 
sanatorium. The Germans far outnumbered 
the Americans and moreover they had tanks. 
Everybody who could carry a gun was 
pressed into service. Thirty clerks from 
Headquarters 1st Battalion marched unsus- 
pectingly into Zon from the north. They 
exchanged their typewriters for guns and 
jumped into the fray. The Americans fell 
back across the bridge. Casualties were 
heavy. At one point bullets ripped through 
the operating room and Third Auxers 
ducked for their lives. All seemed lost when 
suddenly ten British tanks happened into 
town. These tanks had been requested the 
day before but had been unable to reach 
Zon. They immediately engaged the Ger- 
man tanks and knocked out four of them. 
This saved the day. The Germans hesitated, 
withdrew across the bridge and were later 
routed by a combined infantry-tank charge. 
Zon remained in American hands but it had 
been a close call. 

On other fronts too, D plus 3 was a 
critical day* The British were stalled in their 
efforts to bring up reinforcements. The fight 
at Best prevented the 1 01st from expanding 
rapidly to the north, The 82nd Airborne 
was having trouble of its own* It had suc- 
ceeded in crossing the Mouse at Grave but 

it had failed in crossing the Waal at Nij- 
megen. The British at Arnhem were cut off. 
The bridge across the Nether Rhine could 
not be wrested from the enemy who was 
constantly pouring reinforcements into the 
area. The picture was black. 

Now the wisdom of the medical plan for 
the division became apparent. Evacuation 
of casualties from the corridor was at best 
hazardous and at the least impossible. Just 
before D plus 3 Crandall had been able to 
get a number of the most seriously wounded 
on a southbound convoy. Thirty ambu- 
lances and four trucks managed to find their 
way through the darkness to the 24th Evac- 
uation Hospital at Bourg-Leopold. After 
that, no further trips were made for four 
days. The entire burden of caring for the 
Division casualties fell on the clearing sta- 
tion at Zon and the field hospital at Vechel. 
It was only because these installations had 

Roddo points to bullet hole in hri glider. 


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been so lavishly supplied from the start that 
they were able to keep going. 

Later in the day the 82nd Airborne in a 
daring maneuver secured the bridge at Nij- 
megen but this was the last tactical success 
of the salient for a long time. Zon became 
too hot for the 1 1st Command Post, It was 
moved north. The clearing station continued 
to operate there however. 

On D plus 5 Crandall went to Vechel to 
establish liaison with the field hospital there 
and he immediately became embroiled in yet 
another violent battle. Vechel was a Ger- 
man target because the bridge across the 
Willems Vaart was vital to traffic, just as 
the bridge across the Wilhelmina Canal was 
vital at Zon. The action at Vechel marked 
the climax of the struggle for control of 
the road. 

When Crandall arrived in the town, Vec- 
hel was held by one battalion of paratroop- 
ers. The Germans knew it and they launched 
their attack from three directions with 
forces outnumbering the Americans ten to 
one. At eleven o'clock, Germans were across 
the road to Uden. The 2nd Battalion of the 
506th went out to meet them. When it ar- 
rived a Mark V was shooting up the light 
British and American artillery. A $7 mm 
gun was all the Americans had. The duel 
between this gun and the German tank took 
just three minutes. The German shot first. 
He missed. The W mm shot next and, by 
sheer luck, set the tank on fire. The Ger- 
mans fell back, 

Crandall decided to go back to Zon at the 
very time when German infantry cut across 
the road leading south. His jeep was brought 


Third Ausert wer* heartened bf the arrival of the rest »f the Medical Company 


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under fire and he sought cover in a ditch. 
Again, reinforcements arrived in the nick 
of time. Glider infantry came marching 
up from St. Ocdenrode. Quite unaware of 
the situation and using little more than rifle 
fire, the Americans walked right through 
the Germans and had the road open again 
at four o'clock. Later in the afternoon the 
enemy came in from the north but this time 
he was stopped at the railroad bridge. It was 
a preview of Bastogne, 

On D plus 8 the Germans cut the road 
again south of Vechel. Before the Amer- 
icans could do anything about it, the Ger- 
mans had built up substantial forces and it 
took a whole day of heavy fighting to dis- 
lodge them. On the same day the bridge* 
head across the Nether Rhine at Arnhem 
that had been won with so much sacrifice 
was lost. Dogged by bad luck from the 
start, the British and Poles had to give up. 
Less than one-third were able to get back 
to their own lines. The fighting now settled 
down to a slugging match. 

On 4 October the base of the corridor was 
secure. The field hospital at Vechel moved 
to Nijmegen and on J October the clearing 
station followed. The front line had been 
stabilized in a wide arc across the river Waal 
with the furthermost point within sight of 
Arnhem. This salient which became known 
as the "island" was the next assignment for 
the 1 1st and it was one long, grim, demoral- 
izing anticlimax. The paratroopers dug in. 
On clear days the Germans on the rising 
ground north of the river could look down 
the Americans' throats. On dull days they 
shot at random. Jet planes began to make 
their appearance. V-2*s raced through the 
skies. Bombs fell intermittently on Nij- 
megen. Everybody was miserable. 

On 29 October in the fog of a particularly 
wretched day two bombs fell in the court- 
yard of the school building where the 3 26th 
was operating its station. Walls collapsed. 
Cedings caved in. Fire broke out. At the 

height of the excitement a rocket struck 
the same point and caused many additional 
casualties. This put the 326th out of the 
running for the time being. The unit was 
sent to the 24th Evacuation Hospital at 
Eindhoven to recover and the Third Auxers 
transferred to the field hospital on the south 
side of Nijmegen. They stayed there until 
14 November, took a brief rest at Third Aux 
Headquarters in Spa, and rejoined the 101st 
at Mourmclon. The war was only five 
months old and yet these men had already 
survived a number of catastrophes. But the 
worst was yet to come. 

The Stalemate 

From the middle of September till the 
middle of December First Army was held 
at bay on a front that ran from Aachen in 
the north to Luxembourg in the south. Here, 
the remaining German divisions were massed 
behind a line that presented not only care- 
fully prepared fortifications but also great 
natural obstacles. It was a line that ran 
across rolling hills and secluded valleys, 
lonely moors and dense forests, steep ravines 
and rushing streams, and to all this the 
Germans had added dragon's teeth and tank 
traps, pill boxes and mine fields, road blocks 
and machine gun emplacements. In the 
north there were the forests of Rotgen and 
Hiirtgcru the uplands of the Hohe Venn, and 
the outrunners of the Ardennes. In the 
south, the hills made way for more open 
country but unfortunately this was not the 
logical point of attack. The logical point 
of attack lay in the north where the Rhine 
could be approached across the plain of 
Cologne. In the south, the hills of the Eiffel 
and the Hunsruck were formidable barriers. 

In this country that was so easy to defend 
and so difficult to attack, First Army 
launched two costly offensives: Aachen and 
the Roer. The battle for Aachen lasted from 


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2 October till 21 October. The drive for 
the Roer started on \6 November and was 
still in progress when the Germans lashed 

The enemy was now fighting with his 
back against the wall. Gone were the days 
when Hitler masterminded the campaigns 
from his eyrie at Berchtesgaden. In the fall 
of 1944, the German Army was directed by 
hard-headed tacticians, men of cold delib- 
eration who exacted an eye for an eye and 
a tooth for a tooth. They knew that the 
greatest threat was the Roer sector and they 
acted accordingly. On this sector alone, they 
deployed twelve of the best German divisions 
and more tanks than the Americans had. The 
battle that ensued was a battle of attrition. 

Third Auxers watched this battle from 
such vantage points as R6tgen t Elsenborn, 
Butgenbach, Stolberg, and Eschweiler. The 
word vantage point refers here solely to 
proximity rather than to perspective. The 
towns and villages facing the Siegfried Line 
were on the whole a dismal lot and they 
offered scant hospitality. Between Aachen 
and St. Vith lay a district that had belonged 
to Germany before the First World War 
and the inhabitants were still predominantly 
German, No longer the open arms, the warm 
hand shakes, the jubilant expressions of grat- 
itude. These people had no love for the 
Americans and they showed it. Treachery 
and ambush were rampant. Early in Sep- 
tember, a whole carload of MP's disappeared 
in Rotgen. Third Auxers wouldn't think 
of going out alone. Sensenbach had paid for 
his gullibility. No one wanted to follow in 
his footsteps. 

The field hospitals dug in, and the digging 
was not good. With the exception of a 
platoon of the 42nd Field Hospital which 
installed itself in the elegant summer palace 
of the Duchess of Luxembourg, winter 
quarters for the field hospitals ran to dingy 
school buildings, bombed-out factories, and 

smelly horse stables. They all had one thing 
in common: a bone-chilling dampness that 
defied everything but the sleeping bag. Of 
all the improvised dormitories, the most un- 
conventional one was at Rotgen. In this 
wretched village, Third Auxers pitched their 
cots in a paint store, fronting directly on the 
main street. The room had a large window 
without curtains, permitting all passers-by 
an unobstructed view of Third Auxers in 
various stages of dress and undress. The 
townspeople were shocked. "Das ist doch 
eine grosze Schande!" they said. 

The days followed one another in drab 
and cheerless monotony. The weather, which 
had been discouraging throughout the sum- 
mer except for a few short weeks in August, 
turned chilly in September, wet in October, 
and devastating in November. Third Aux- 
ers suffered in silence. True, their discom- 
fitures were insignificant compared with 
those of the men at the front, but the con- 
stantly recurring annoyances had a cumula- 
tive effect. The crowded quarters, the mess 
kit routine, the interminable rain, the fear- 
ful isolation, these took their toll as the 
campaign dragged on. 

Aachen fell on 21 October and it was on 
this same day that death reached out from a 
totally unexpected quarter. It happened at 
Elsenborn. Let Major Floyd tell the story. 

"On 3 October the third platoon of the 
45th Field Hospital moved to Elsenborn, 
a hamlet that was only a few miles from the 
German-Belgian border. The site had no 
great strategic importance except as high 
ground controlling the road that parallels 
the frontier at this point. Elsenborn was 
what we would call a wide place in the 
road. It consisted of half a dozen farm 
houses and a general store. 

Our hospital was set up about three hun- 
dred yards from the crossroads. The country 


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was heavily wooded and traversed by many 
shallow ravines. When we moved in, enemy 
patrols had been reported in Elsenborn the 
night before. That made the cheese more 
binding. Soon other units began to move 
in, chiefly medium artillery. The guns began 
to shell the Siegfried Line with great gusto* 
The earth shook under our feet with the 
thunderous explosions but we grew used to 
it. There was fighting at Monschau, three 
miles to the northeast- But it was small 
potatoes. Mostly patrol clashes. Our casual- 
ties all came from this area. 

As the days wore on, we were joined by 
the second platoon. This went into bivouac 
because there was not enough work for two 
platoons. The resting platoon had four Third 
Aux nurses: Joyce Walther, Irene Bovee, 
Marjorie Bruce, and Gladys Snyder. The 
third platoon had Mary Benham, Mary Estes, 
Janet Snyder, and Louise Tomback, Busi- 
ness was so slack that we had only one team, 
that of Boyden. 

We spent the time in monotonous inac- 
tivity. The weather was miserably cold and 
there was a constant drizzle that converted 
the ground into a quagmire. We were sit- 
ting in the middle of buz£-bomb alley and 
we quickly learned to scan the skies when 
we heard the peculiar whine. Because of 
the low overcast, we could never see the 
blasted things until they were only a few 
hundred yards away. They appeared to 
travel very low, not more than three hun- 
dred feet above the ground, and they all 
seemed to be heading for Liege. I never saw 
one fall near by. 

Our sector was considered inactive. It 
was being held by the 28th Division which 
was regrouping following the disaster at 
Schmidt, Camp security was lax. I hadn't 
dug a fox hole for weeks. Too damn wet. 
Why sleep in a pool of water when you 
might just as well sleep on your cot? 

On 21 October one of the nurses in the 
inactive platoon, Frances Slanger, wrote a 

Dragons teeth. 

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letter to the Stars and Stripes, putting into 
words what a lot of us felt. Here is the way 
she put it: 

'It is two o'clock in the morning and I 
have been lying awake for an hour, listening 
to the steady, even breathing of the other 
three nurses in the tent. The rain is beating 
down on the tent with torrential force. The 
wind is on a rampage. Its main objective 
seems to be to lift the tent off its poles and 
fling it about our heads. 

The fire is burning low, Just a few live 
coals are on the bottom, I couldn't help 
thinking how similar to a human being a 
fire is. It can run down very low but if 
there is a spark of life left, it can be nursed 
back. So can a human being. It is slow, it 
is gradual, but it is done all the time in these 
field hospitals. 

We have read articles in the various maga- 
zines, praising the work of the nurses in 
the combat area. Praising us for what? The 
GI's say we rough it. True, we live in tents, 
sleep on cots, and are subject to the vagaries 
of the weather. We wade ankle-deep in the 


Field hospttali go into wimtti quarters. 
Merlo watchei at Block wields tke knife. 

mud, but they have to lie in it. We have a 
stove and coal. We even have a laundry line 
in the tent. Our drawers are at this moment 
doing the dance of the pants, what with the 
wind howling, the tent waving, the rain 
beating, the guns firing^ and me writing 
with a flashlight* It all adds up to a feeling 
of unreality. 

Sure we rough it, but in comparison with 
the way you men are taking it, we can't 

complain. You the men behind the 

guns, the men driving the tanks, flying the 
planes, sailing the ships, building the bridges, 
paving the way, and paying with your blood, 
you are the ones to whom we doff our hel- 
mets. Every GI wearing the American uni- 
form has our greatest admiration and re- 

Yes, this time we are handing out the 
bouquets. We are handing out the bouquets 
because we have seen you when you are 
brought in bloody, dirty with mud, and so 
tired. We are handing out the bouquets be- 
cause we have gradually seen you brought 
back to life. We have learned a great deal 
about our American soldier and the stuff he 
is made of. The wounded do not cry. Their 
buddies come first. Your patience and de- 
termination, your courage and fortitude are 
awesome to behold. Rough it? No! It is 
a privilege to be able to take care of you 
and it is a great joy to see you open your 
eyes and say with that swell American grin 
"Hi Babe!" * 

We all read this letter. There had been 
very little to do. The day had offered noth- 
ing but scudding clouds, driving rain, and 
dripping canvas. At night we all congre- 
gated in our tent. Art Jones had a bottle 
of screech and we sampled some of it to drive 
the gloom away. We felt mighty sorry for 
ourselves. Then Hoyden reminded us that 
we were living like kings compared with the 
GI*s on patrol. I had just opened my mouth 
to subscribe to his sentiments when the earth 
shook with the impact of nearby explosions. 


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Instinctively I ducked. I remembered a 
sump hole that I had dug several days earlier 
for the garbage. Brother, you should have 
seen me get rid of that garbage! 

In the inactive platoon, Frances Slanger 
and the other nurses put their helmets on 
and huddled together* not knowing which 
way to turn. Terrified, they kneeled with 
their arms around each other. The third 
shell fell in the middle of their area. Frances 
Slanger collapsed. Tm hit,' she said. 

In another tent Major Herman Lord, the 
platoon commander, was mortally wounded. 
An enlisted man was killed outright. Three 
more nurses had been hit: Elizabeth Powers 
and Margaret Bowler of the platoon, and 
Gladys Snyder of the Third Aux. The cas- 
ualties were brought to the operating tent. 
I left my sump hole and we all turned to 
the wounded. 

Frances Slanger was the most serious. She 
had a wound of the abdomen and was al- 

ready in deep shock when we first saw her. 
She knew that she was dying but her only 
concern was with the others. We poured 
blood into her as fast as we could. It was 
no use. Within half an hour, Frances Slanger 
was dead. We buried her in a military ceme- 
tery where she lies side by side with the 
fighting men she served/' 

While the teams were thus being buffeted 
by the fortunes of war, Third Aux Head- 
quarters finally settled down in surround- 
ings befitting its dignity. This was in Spa. 
Up until this time, the little group had 
jumped from one cow pasture to another, 
trying to keep up with the lines. In August, 
a new executive officer reported. In Septem- 
ber, Lieutenant Sensenbach disappeared. To 
fill his place, no less than three new MAC 
officers joined the Third Aux. One of these 
was soon dropped again but two continued: 

Nathalie Dovii and Irving Hoymon work over a casually at the I 3th Field Hospital 

in Eschweilar. 

7 a. 


Harold Hansen as adjutant and Dwight De- 
Witt as supply officer. In December Sergeant 
Brattcsanni was promoted to Second Lieu- 
tenant MAC and he continued to serve the 
Group in his usual affable manner* 

When the lines finally stabilized, Colonel 
Crisler installed Headquarters in a handsome 
villa south of Spa. This villa had a past. 
Serving alternately as a German Brigade 
Headquarters and an aristocratic Belgian 
residence, it eventually became the home of 
a group of Ehrebranten, Ehrebrauten were 
girls from the occupied territories who were 
sent to the front to consort with German 
soldiers. The traffic blossomed so that, at 
one time, four train-loads of this type of 
cargo would pass through Spa every day. 
When the "bride 1 * became pregnant, she was 
well cared for until the baby was born. Then 
the honeymoon was over. Boy babies were 
sent to Germany to be brought up in the 
Nazi tradition. Girl babies were left with 

the mother who received a cash settlement 
of a thousand marks for her travail. 

The brides at Spa had done very well for 
themselves. "Their villa had every comfort 
of home besides a commanding view of the 
surrounding countryside. Third Auxers took 
up where the brides left off. They turned 
on the centra] heating plant, they trans- 
formed the library into an orderly room, and 
they even gave a dance. It was attended by 
every Spa girl whose political antecedents 
had been found above reproach by that 
Third Aux factotum, Captain William 

Spa was taken_pver lock, stock, and barre[ 
by" the Americans? Situated oti the~border 
of the Hohe Venn, the town had not only 
a charming location but also renowned min- 
eral springs. Full of hotels, it was a natural 
for First Army Headquarters, GI's were 
everywhere. The famous casino, the im- 
posing bathhouse, the exclusive restaurants, 
nothing was exempt. The same plushy salons 

Jeep ambulance. Bringing! our a casualty at Mamcheu. 

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that once held the ailing uppercmst of Eu- 
rope now became filled with swaggering 
dough boys whose only complaint was that 
they had not had a bath for weeks. To see 
these rugged characters line up in front of 
the ticket window at the Maison dot Bains 
was a terrific jolt to the native attendants 
who had not witnessed anything like it even 
during the First World War when the Kaiser 
made his headquarters in Spa. "C'est formid- 
able," they would say, shaking their heads. 

Since times immemorial the springs of 
Spa have gushed forth an estimated twenty 
thousand gallons of effervescent, chocolate- 
colored water a day. At the Maison, this 
water is stored, heated, and piped to a variety 
of tub baths, shower cabinets, steam cham- 
bers, whirlpools, needle sprays, and all the 
other appurtenances of hydrotherapy* Be- 
sides these, the Maison had a huge swimming 
pool, a stately salle de repos, a glass rotunda, 
a restaurant, a bar, an art collection, massage 
rooms, gambling facilities, barber shops t and 
a corps of professional masseurs. Third Aux- 
ers sampled them all but the thing they en- 
joyed the most, after five months of helmet- 
baths, was the good old tub. At this stage, 
a tub bath was the height of luxury. In a 
tub, a man could forget all about the mud 
and dirt and grime of the field. He could 
close his eyes and let himself be carried off 
to a land of warmth and motion where 
everything conspired to relaxation. It was 
like smoking opium and it was worth every 
bit of fifteen francs. 

After Aachen came the abortive attack 
on the Roer darns. When that failed, the 
Allies decided on a carefully coordinated 
attack all along the West Wall. The strategy 
was to engage the enemy in the north and 
in the south and to strike a body blow in 
the center. First Army was in the center, 
The objective was the Hurtgen Forest and 
the Roer dams. The jump-off came on 16 

Weather and terrain could hardly have 
been worse. Harassed by a constant down- 
pour, the troops found themselves in a forest 
so dense that visibility was cut to thirty 
yards. Pill boxes covered every foot of 
ground. Air support was impossible, Every 
strong point had to be taken by frontal 
attack, a heartbreaking struggle in which 
even the best troops bogged down. The Ger- 
mans knew exactly where the Americans 
were and plastered the line with tree bursts 
that took a heavy toll. The very job of get- 
ting the wounded out of this hell hole re- 
quired superhuman strength. Third Auxers 
noted that it now took twenty-four to 
thirty-six hours for a casualty to reach them. 
These conditions were reminiscent of the 
First World War. 

At the end of two weeks the Americans 
stood on the far edge of the forest but their 
trials were not over. Every village was 
fiercely contested. This was the kind of 
fighting that was epitomized in the follow - 

Gladys Snyder recuperating at Spa. 


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ing communique: "The Americans have en- 
tered a house in Schmidt. They have estab- 
lished Headquarters in the living room and 
sent reconnaissance parties to the kitchen 
and the bedrooms. There is no word as yet 
from these parties," The offensive ground 
to a halt during the second week of Decem- 
ber. Losses had run as high as six hundred 
per division per day. First Army needed re- 
inforcements. Moreover, the troops now 
stood on the banks of the Roer and what 
they saw was not a shallow stream but a 
mile-wide lake. The Germans had opened 
the flood gates, They were playing their Jast 

D uring these weeks, everybody — in the 
Third Aux suffered from acute frustration. 

Rumors were rampant. Periodically, reports 
would circulate that within a short time all 
men with a certain length of service would 
be sent home. The catch was that the critical 
score kept receding like a. mirage. At first, 
eighteen months overseas was supposed to 
put a man in line for repatriation. When 
Third Auxers passed this point, the period 
had already been extended to twenty-four 
months. In December, the Group celebrated 
its second year overseas with the news that 
the critical score had now been extended to 
thirty months! The repatriation scheme was 
just a come-on, a will-of-the-wisp, an ignus 

The next best thing to hope for was a 
two-day pass to one of the leave centers such 

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Thrrd Aux Headquarter* at Spa. 


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as Liege or Paris (Brussels was for the Brit- 
ish) or, better yet, a thirty-day exchange 
with some hospital in the rear. The exchange 
plan was worked out by Colonel Crisler in 
an effort to give Third Auxers a broader 
view of war surgery. After six months at 
the front, the surgeons knew all about the 
immediate care of battle casualties but they 
had never had a chance to follow up on their 
work. The only way to do that was to go 
to the general hospitals of the communica- 
tions zone. Accordingly, a rotation scheme 
was put into effect. Third Auxers would 
change places with their confreres at the base 
on a thirty-day basis. The first men left early 
in December. 

On the whole, the men from the base came 
off second best. They were not used to the 
rugged life at the front and several of them 
went completely to pieces under the strain. 
One man reported to Third Aux Headquar- 
ters on 1 6 December. He was told to pro- 
ceed to Butgenbach, When he got there, 
the hospital was just being abandoned in a 
pell-mell flight. It was the worst kind of a 
how-do-you-do he could have had. The poor 
fellow dropped his baggage, jumped on a 
truck, and got away by the skin of his 
teeth. He was never the same after that. 

Even the two-day pass to Paris was no 
longer an unmitigated pleasure. The trip 
was rough and the city had lost its glamor. 
Torp found out about that. 

Torp*s job was to pick up the monthly 
liquor allotment. Usually these trips Jed 
him to some out-of-the-way place where no- 
body would go of his own volition, but in 
November word came down that henceforth 
all liquor was to be picked up in Paris! Torp 
jumped a foot, He had never been to Paris. 
This was his chance. With commendable 
foresight he selected the smoothest jeep and 
the steadiest driver he could find- 

From Spa to Paris by jeep in a single day 
is a tour de force. The roads were bumpy, 

the detours interminable, and the weather 
detestable. But Torp would brook no delay. 
Every hour on the road meant an hour Jess 
in Paris. The driver did his best. Slithering 
over the wretched paves like a hunted ga- 
zelle, the jeep raced through the rain and 
when it finally drew up on the Place de la 
Concorde, Torp was whipped. Now for a 
place to eat and sleep. 

The only way to get a room in Paris was 
to apply at the billeting officer. This gentle- 
man was very obliging but he had his orders: 
general officers to the Champs Elysees, field 
grade officers to the Rue de Rjvoli, company 
grade officers to the Faubourg, Torp was 
only a captain. His billeting slip read 89 bis, 
Rue St. Antoine, The driver could stay at 
the Red Cross and the truck would have 
to be taken to the parking lot at the Hotel 
des Invalides. By the time everybody was 
settled, the hour was late and Torp was eat- 
ing K rations in his unheated room on the 
fifth floor of the dumpy Hotel St. Antoine. 
This was no time to start slumming. Ex- 
hausted, he went to bed. 

Always a man to take care of business 
first, Torp started out bright and early the 
next day. His job was not as simple as it 
seemed. By noon he had called at three dif- 
ferent warehouses. The first one handled 
champagne only, the second one was closed 

Huiwitx and Smoxal in action. K am fie Id en rhe left. 


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for the day, and the third one could not 
honor his requisition because it did not have 
the right signature, Torp decided to sus- 
pend further efforts until he could get one 
of those tasty Parisian lunches he had heard 
so much about. Then he had another sur- 
prise. The only place to eat in Paris was at 
the Army mess on the Place d 'Augustine. On 
the way down there, the driver had to 
change a tire and when that was fixed, the 
mess was closed. Torp and his driver ate 
K rations in the jeep. 

There was one last ray of hope. Perhaps 
if he went to the Seine Base Section Liquor 
Officer, The man was cooperative enough 
and gave him the address of yet another 
warehouse, this one in Versailles, They drove 
as fast as they could. Torp could actually 
smell the whiskey when he got out of the 
jeep. The first thing he saw was a sign: 
CHRISTMAS. It was no use. The Third 
Aux would have to go dry. 

With his mission now a dead issue, Torp 

felt that he could devote the rest of the day 
to extracurricular activities. Laboriously 
the men made their way back to the Hotel 
des Invalides, They parked their car and 
Torp immediately took a taxi to the Place 
de 1 'Opera, The sidewalks were crowded but 
not too crowded for Torp to see what he 
was looking for: the Cafe de la Paix. Push- 
ing his way through the throngs, he man- 
aged to find an empty table and ordered his 
cognac* This was the life. Just look at all 
those interesting characters. Before he knew 
it, he was in conversation with an extremely 
glib and voluble Frenchman who gave him- 
self out to be a theatrical director. 

"Have a drink/' said Torp after the first 
greetings were over. 

Torp did not know much French and the 
Frenchman did not know much English. 
The cognacs took care of that. "Within a 
few minutes, the newly-found friend offered 
to take Torp on a personally conducted tour 
of the Paris night spots, Torp got so excited 
that he forgot all about his empty stomach 

Taking out the dead. The HurTgen Forest on 26 Norembei 

-i i_ 


and feigned great interest in a long story 
about the woes of life in Paris. 

They set out in the early evening, They 
started at Le Chat Noir and wound up at 
Maxim's. Everywhere it was the same story: 
Queues at the bar, liquor at fifty francs a 
thimbleful!, women at a premium, and the 
guide at odds with the waiters. After in- 
numerable cognacs and innumerable stories 
about the scarcity of cigarettes, Torp was 
weak from hunger and very unsteady on his 
feet. At this point, the guide excused him- 
self and forgot to return. Torp slumped. 
Suddenly he felt very forlorn. There was 
nothing he really wanted to da but to go 
home. But where was home? The only 
place he could remember was the parking 
lot on the other side of the river. He stag- 
gered out. 


A taxi screeched to a halt. 

"HoteJ des Invaildes." 

"Oui monsieur," 

Torp does not remember much of that 
last taxi trip. He got to the parking lot, 
found his jeep, and spent the rest of the 
night on the back seat. His two days in 
Paris had yielded nothing but frustration. 
When he finally got back to Headquarters, 

his only comment was: "Paris ? Bah. 

I wouldn't give you a nickel for the place!" 

As the winter progressed, conditions 
everywhere deteriorated. The barracks at 
Vielsalm were a good example. Here is one 
Third Auxer's description of life at Viel- 

"Our present home is a Belgian casern. Or 
rather, it was a casern. The Germans messed 
it up a bit. They dropped a few eggs and 
the artillery did the rest. From the outside, 
it looked pretty grim. But who were we to 
be particular? Thankful for any kind of 
shelter, we moved in. 

We started arranging an operating room. 

Bringing casualties in. Thii wns near Esthweiki 

7 r^ 

Koy Watty and Madeleine Andre ko an Pa lii leave. 

Here they check in at the hold. Nat* the SOS 

iriiign o on Ihc bell-boy* uAifofm. 

Reifing up from the truck ride, 
bedi (eel good. 


Sprucing up. 


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First, the men chopped the ice off the floor. 
Then they covered the windows. Then they 
installed the pot-bellied stoves. Then they 
sent a truck for coal. The situation seemed 
to be in hand. Alas! The heat melted the 
ice, the ceiling began to drip, and water 
streamed down in such quantities that every- 
body slopped around in arctics for days. 

At this point, the artillery moved in and 
with each blast of the cannon, the stoves 
would spew forth great billows of soot and 
smoke, With visibility thus reduced, it was 
several days before we noticed a big hole in 
the far corner. We investigated and found 
an unexploded shell. The enginers took care 
of that. They also strung electric wire and 
installed telephones. But when the first 
casualties arrived, the ceiling still dripped, 
the floor still steamed, and the stoves still 

Without our pot-bellied stoves, we would 
have been sunk. In the early fall we cap- 
tured a German stove. It was a work of art. 
It stood five feet high, had all sorts of filigree 
work, and weighed a ton. But it was a 
stinker. Pound for pound, the little Sibley 
stove was the champ. 

The stoves at Vielsalm worked overtime. 
One of them almost wrecked the place. 
Somebody filled a jerrycan with water and 
set it on the red hot stove. A jerrycan has a 
lid that clamps down automatically. For 
awhile, all went well. Then came the ex- 
plosion. The thing popped with the noise 
of an Oerlikon. A geyser of steam and boil- 
ing water filled the room. We could all have 
been scalded to death. As it was, the only 
damage was material. The jerrycan was all 
twisted out of shape and the lid was lost. 
We found it later. It was stuck in the ceiling. 

Actually, it would have been hard to 
create greater havoc than already existed. 
At no time could we have passed a Satur- 
day morning inspection. Let me try to give 
you some idea of our living room. 

This room was quite large. It measured 
probably about twenty by forty feet and yet 
every square inch of space was occupied. 
The first things to attract attention were 
two large tables. From a distance, each table 
appeared to stagger under a great miscellany 
of articles, but on closer scrutiny, one could 
see that there had been some attempt at 
segregation. The first table was equipped 
as a quick lunch counter, the other one con- 
tained only mental food. Both were stacked 
in layers, pyramid fashion. 

A partial Inventory of the first table ran 
about like this: four half-empty liquor bot- 
tles, a sugar bowl, a jar with Ovaltine tablets, 
a tin labeled Dixie Mix, a can with condensed 
milk, a greasy spoon, a jug with moldy 
mayonnaise, two canteen cups (both dirty), 
a medicine glass, two jiggers, a can of spam 
(unopened), a carton of Hershey's break- 
fast cocoa, a saucer with "decomposing but- 
ter, a huge box of homemade cookies, a mar- 
malade jar with a spoon sticking out of it, a 
plate with two dried-out pieces of toast and 
a slab of salami, a wicked knife, two can 
openers, a cellophane package with dried 
prunes, a box of matches (empty), the re- 
mains of a fruit cake, a china cup (clean), 
a china cup (dirty), two cartons of vanilla 
wafers, a chunk of nougat, a jar with sand- 
wich spread, a cracked glass, a tin with 
Terry's cream mints, a mess kit surmounted 
by a soup plate, a bag of salted peanuts, half 
a loaf of bread, a bottle of Nescafe, a one- 
gallon can of fruit juice, a dainty little plat- 
ter with anchovy paste, something wrapped 
in an old newspaper, a glass container with 
strawberry preserves, ditto with bouillon 
paste, ditto with Parmesan cheese, a cork- 
screw, an envelope with dried noodle soup, 
a box with Koffee Krunch, two GI knives, 
a bottle with dill pickles, a jug labeled 
Araban Mixture, and a small serving tray 
with nothing but a blackened spoon. 

The second table was only slightly less 
fascinating. It held old magazines, overseas 


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editions of the funnies, maps of Belgium, V- 
mail letters, hometown newspapers, writing 
materials, playing cards, half-smoked cigars, 
pony editions, a chess board, numerous ash 
trays, discarded razor blades, strips of ad- 
hesive tape, a damp wash cloth, a Coleman 
lantern, a pair of socks, a bottle of calamine 
lotion, a tobacco pouch, and, in general, the 
overflow from the first table. 

Lined up against the walls were the cocs, 
each one with its own array of rumpled 
sleeping bags, heaped-up blankets, opened 
valpaks, and sprawling bedding-rolls. There 
were also six different kinds of chairs. These 
were used mainly as towel racks and clothes 
hangers. Nobody did much sitting. One 
stood or lay down. 

The corners served special functions. The 
first corner was the wash and clean-up de- 
partment. It had the jerrycans, several 
enameled basins, a canvas bucket, some 
drinking cups, and six empty plasma cans 
for emergency purposes. This corner was 
always partly inundated and no man ap- 
proached it without his arctics on. 

The second corner was the storage depart- 
ment. It contained the tents, poles, pegs, 
ropes, flies, shovels, axes, wires, tarpaulins, 
and all the other necessaries of outdoor liv- 
ing. These articles had been acquired by 
hook and crook and were being 7ealously 
guarded, even though they had long since 
outlived their usefulness. 

The third corner housed the laundry de- 
partment. Here, the space was completely 
taken up by crisscrossing wires and dangling 
underwear. Most of the men were down to 
a few shorts. The washer women of Nor- 
mandy had helped themselves to the desir- 

able items and the Quartermaster laundry 
had taken care of the rest. 

The fourth corner was the social depart- 
ment. It had the stove, two coal scuttles, an 
ash can, rows of steaming shoes, a wall map 
of the battlefront, a pile of old newspapers, 
and a broken-down stool. Here the off-duty 
team gathered for a round of chess, a swipe 
at the lunch counter, or a look at last 
month's magazines. 

And yet, this dreary spot boasted of one 
great natural wonder, a sort of Carlsbad 
Caverns in miniature. This was the wash- 
room. Jusc before we moved in, it had been 
hit by a shell. Pipes had sprung leaks. Water 
had seeped out. As it seeped, it froze and as 
it froze, it assumed an infinite variety of 
weird shapes. The result was the most fan- 
tastic collection of stalagmites and stalactites 
you ever saw, 

I stumbled onto the place in the dark. 
Not knowing where I was, I flashed on my 
light. By the flickering beam, each bizarre 
formation created its own grotesque shadow, 
A thousand fanciful figures danced about 
me. It was a fairyland beyond the wildest 
Disney dream. I took a deep breath and 
joined the chess players in the dormitory. 

Such was Vielsalm." 

For three weary months, the stalemate 
dragged on. The Russians were stalled in 
the east. The British and the Americans 
were stalled in the west. There seemed to 
be no way out. Then, at the most unex- 
pected moment, the air was rent with the 
flash of guns and the clash of tanks. The 
Battle of the Bulge was on. 






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The Battle of the Bulge has been called 
the greatest battle the American Army ever 
fought and there is no doubt that in ferocity, 
in casualties, and in numbers engaged, it 
ranks first. The Bulge began on 16 Decem- 
ber, reached its climax on 26 December, and 
was obliterated on 23 January* During those 
thirty-eight days, the Germans lost over 
1J0,000 men and the Americans 136,000, 
Truly an appalling price, 

The plan had been very carefully worked 
out by the German High Command. As 
early as September the German Staff had 
decided to mass all the newly activated divi- 
sions into a new assault group and this grad- 
ually grew into the Sixth Panzer Army. 
Early in October, the site was chosen. It 
was to be the sector between Monschau and 
Trier, the very ground where German armor 
achieved its greatest triumph in 1940, Early 
in November, Hitler said: "We will strike 
a blow of great daring and subtle strategy 
where the enemy least expects it. We will 
depend on surprise and speed. We will probe 
for the soft spots, rush for the Meuse, and 
seize Antwerp. Then, we will annihilate the 
British to the north and the Americans to 
the south." Early in December, the die was 
cast. Like a wounded animal that strikes 
out in the agony of death, Hitler's legions 
surged forward and demolished everything 
in their path. Theirs was a vengeance mis- 
sion, a retribution for the painful defeats in 
Normandy, the slow attrition of the Sieg- 

fried Line, the dreadful destruction of the 
German Fatherland from the air. 

At the time of the attack, the Monschau- 
Trier sector was lightly held by VIII Corps, 
consisting of the I 06th Division in the north, 
the 28 th Division in the center, and the 4th 
Division in the south. Of these, the 106th 
was green and the other two were severely 
depleted by weeks of heavy fighting at the 
Roer. The extreme northern boundary of 
the sector was guarded by the 4th Cavalry 
Group, Two combat commands of the 9th 
Armored were resting at St. Vith. Fifty 
miles of front, held by three divisions! 
Against this thin crust, the Germans hurled 
two Panzer Armies and part of a third; 22 
divisions, 250,000 men, and 1,200 tanks. 
It was their last desperate gamble. 

On 16 December, the field hospitals that 
were directly in the path of the German 
advance were: 

(1) The third platoon of the 47th Field 
Hospital at Butgenbach with the 
teams of Peyton and Dorner. 

(2) The first platoon of the 47th Field 
Hospital at Waymes with the teams 
of Hurwitz and Higginbotham, 

(3) The third platoon of the 42nd Field 
Hospital at St. Vith with the teams 
of Partington and Lavieri. 

( 4 ) T he second platoon of the 42nd Field 
Hos pital at Wjltz wi ththe tea_ms_ of 
Serbst and Sutton. (Sutton himself 
had gone on a thirty-day exchange. 
His place was taken by Cameron.) 


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The battle started at five o'clock in the 
morning with an artillery barrage. It was 
a murky t drizzly morning and the Amer- 
icans took their punishment in wet, muddy 
foxholes- At eight o'clock German tanks 
and infantry started forward over a fifty- 
mile front* Some of these attacks were di- 
versionary however. The main pressure fell 
on the northern flank, between St. Vith and 
Elsenborm Here, the enemy penetrated the 
positions of the 4th Cavalry Group three 
miles in as many hours. Through the right 
of the 106th Division, German armor ad- 
vanced rapidly for a mile and a half before 
being slowed by Division reserves. The ob- 
jective was St, Vith. St. Vith held out but 
at other points the Americans were sent 
reeling. Two whole regiments of the 106th 
were cut off. There was no defense in depth, 
Everything depended on rapid shifting of 

Against the 28th Division in the Wiltz 
sector, the enemy used two Panzer Divisions* 
three infantry divisions, and one parachute 
division. The 28th was especially over-ex- 
tended, covering almost thirty miles of 
front. Before nightfall the Germans had 
crossed the ridge road at several points and 
advanced as much as five miles. 

In the southern part of VIII Corps, there 
were local attacks against the positions of 
the 4th Division but these were not a serious 
threat. The real pressure bore down on 
Malmedy in the north, St. Vith in the cen- 
ter, and Wiltz in the south. 

On this first day Third Auxers could only 
guess what was going on but they got a 
pretty good idea from the stones of the 

At Butgenbach, an ambulance of the 2nd 
Division Clearing Station brought a man 
with a superficial arm wound to the field 
hospital. Peyton smelled a rat. 

"What's this? Don't you have a clearing 
station any more?" 

"Sorry, sir. We are pulling out right 
away and we haven't got an ambulance to 
take this man all the way to Malmedy.*' 

"All right. Put him down. But if your 
clearing station is at Malmedy, what are we 
doing out here?'* 

At St, Vith, Partington and his men were 
suddenly swamped with wounded of the 
106th Division. He couldn't understand it. 

**What*s going on, boys?" 

"Plenty. They are coming at us with 
nothing but tanks." 

"Well, you better go to your clearing 

"But that's all the way in Vielsalm!" 

"Vielsalml You mean your clearing sta- 
tion is at Vielsalm! That puts us in front of 
your battalion aid station!" And Partington 
gravely shook his head. 

At Wiltz, Serbst felt sufficiently disturbed 
to go to the Command Post of the 28th 
Division and ask for information. 

"Looks like those bastards are trying to 
come through at Wallendorf," said the in- 
telligence officer. "Wish we could get some 
bombers in the air." But by the time the 
request reached the liaison officer, darkness 
had settled and the bombers never took off, 
Serbst returned to his teammates, profound- 
ly disturbed. 

The n ext day T j^Jjg^ejriber, the Germans 
drove hard co~cxploit~ their initial penetra- 
tions. Contrary to a popular misconception, 
their objective was not Liege but rather the 
Meuse south of that city. On the northern 
shoulder, the 106th was in full retreat and 
by nine o'clock the two regiments in front 
of St. Vith were cut off. Butgenbach and 
Malmedy were being defended by elements 
of the 2nd and the 99th Division without 
the weapons to counter the heavy tank con- 
centrations. In the 28th Division sector, the 
Germans made large gains everywhere. One 
salient north of Wiltz was eight miles deep 


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and another south of the village extended 
for six miles, Ac some points, German armor 
was only eleven miles from Bastogne. This 
was where the greatest penetrations were 
made during the next few days. 

Let us now see what happened to Third 
Auxers along the perimeter of the Bulge. 

The Teams of 
Majors Peyton and Dortier 

On the morning of 17 December, the 
third platoon of the 47th Field Hospital at 
Butgenbach was still completely unaware of 
the danger that threatened it. The hospital 
had arrived only a few days before and had 
established itself in a battered school house 
without light or heat. Third Aux teams here 
were as follows: 

Major John B, Peyton, Capt HoIIis H. 

Brainard, Capt Claude M, Warren> Capt 
Max Hughes, T-5 John L, Myers, T-J 
Emery W, Hopkins, T-S Thomas A, Geur- 
ink, Pvt William Faskow. 

Major Ralph A. Dorner, Capt John A. 
Esposito, Capt Edward H. Roberts, Capt 
Gordon A. Dodds, T-J Charles A. Bonin, 
T-S Edward M. Pawlowicz, T-J James A. 
Bowman, T-4 Aurelio M. DeLeon. 

The nurses were Peggy Baker, Marge Har- 
vey, Shirley Ralph, and Ida Marsh, 

Captain Warren has recorded what took 

"All during the night of 16 December 
we heard tanks and trucks going past our 
buildings but to our surprise they were all 
heading away from the front! We knew 
that a battle was going on but we could not 

The church at Hornay in the Ardennei. 





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understand why the tanks were running 
away from it. Some of our men became 
greatly worried. After all, we were only a 
few miles from the line. But to most of us 
it was just a joke. If the Jerries did come 
through, we could get out m a hurry and 
our troops would chase them back in short 

At midnight we admitted a soldier with 
a traumatic amputation of both legs. He 
was in profound shock and we spent the rest 
of the night working over him. At seven 
in the morning, he was just beginning to 
respond. I was dead tired. I went down 
to eat a cold breakfast and got ready to go 
to bed. Darner's team was taking over- At 
this moment we heard small-arms fire down 
the road and we all ran out. Jeeps were 
racing by, each one loaded to the gills. A 
wave of excitement gripped us. The battle 
was coming to our door! I was thrilled. This 
was the stuff we had been waiting for these 
many months, 

There was a temporary lull in the traffic. 
The next vehicle to come down the road 
was a bicycle, propelled by a Belgian boy. 
He was yelling bloody murder and pointing 
at his foot. Captain Peckins was the only 
one who knew German and he questioned 
the boy in the middle of the street. The boy 
said that he had been shot by a German 
soldier five hundred yards down the road. 
The bullet lodged in his boot but did not 
penetrate the skin. 

Some of us became panicky but I thought 
'"What the hell? If they capture us, we may 
be exchanged and actually get home earlier.* 
I did not get much time to pursue this pleas- 
ant trend of thought. 

A radar truck came speeding down the 
road. There was a sharp bend where our 
building was. The truck was going too fast, 
careened off the highway, and came to rest 
in a ditch. I ran out through the slush. The 

driver was already out of his cab, surveying 
the damage. 

'How does it look up front, captain? 1 I 
tried to be casual. 

He looked up, annoyed. 'Rough. Got out 
just in time.* Then, noticing my unsoldierly 
appearance, he added 'What are yon doing 

'We are running the hospital.' 

*Tne hospital? You mean you are running 
a hospital out here? You better get yourself 
some guns or you will be operating on 
Heinies. Bullangen is full of them/ 

I knew that Bullangen was only a mile 
away and I swallowed hard. 

At this point Major Henderson, the pla- 
toon commander, came over. Before he 
could open his mouth, the captain spoke up. 

'Better step back, Major. Fm going to set 
this truck on fire/ 

'On fire? What do you mean? That truck 
is worth money, isn't it?* 

'I don't care, as long as the Jerries don't 
lay a hand on it.* 

The captain and his men set to immedi- 
ately. They placed thermite charges. The 
truck started smoldering. 

Henderson still would not believe the cap- 
tain. But at least he decided to get the nurses 
out. Our girls were Peggy Baker, Marge 
Harvey, Shirley Ralph, and Ida Marsh. They 
left without anything but the clothes on 
their backs. Everything had to go in one 
ambulance. No room for baggage. They 
went to the 2nd Division Clearing Station 
at Elsenborn. Later we heard that they were 
safely evacuated from there, 

I still did not think that the Germans 
would reach us. So, like a fool, I did not 
pack a thing. I did not even pick up my 
watch or a fountain pen or a ring that I 
had pulled off while operating. At eight 
o'clock Lieutenant Colonel Cook t 2nd Divi- 
sion Surgeon, came in. He was so out of 


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breath that he could hardly talk. He yelled 
at Henderson: *Get everybody out of here 
and damn quick. The Germans are coming 
down the road I ' 

We now had only two vehicles left and 
they were supposed to be for the patients. 
I ran upstairs in a fog, half-scared, half- 
thrilled. I was sure that we would be back 
by nightfall. I grabbed my movie camera 
and some film but left the rest. The panic 
was contagious. Everybody ran out on the 

The first people to get there were Peyton 
and Brainard. They hadn't even bothered 
to pick up their belongings. They looked 
down the road and saw a truck coming at 

'There's our chance!" shouted Peyton. 
'Let's flag him.* 

The driver stopped. Peyton and Brainard 
jumped on. There was no room in the cab 
so they crouched low in the body. Down 
the road they went, slithering and swaying. 
The shooting seemed to get closer all the 
time, Peyton scrambled to his feet and 
raised his voice above the tumult: 

'Hey, driver! "Where are you taking us?' 
'Bullangen. I want to get my buddies out!' 

'Heirs bells! Let me out. We are just 

Peyton and Brainard got out of that truck 
so fast, they completely forgot about their 
overcoats. They hid in a ditch, dodged bul- 
lets all morning, and managed to hitch a 
ride later. 

Meanwhile the rest of us were straggling 
down the road towards Waymes. We clam- 
bered aboard any vehicle that was going 
our way. Within an hour we had all gath- 
ered at Waymes. Our patients had preceded 
us. The fellow with both legs shot off was 
in poor shape again and I started blood on 
him. Our teams were being ordered to the 
44th Evacuation Hospital at Malmedy. The 

hospital was sending fifteen of its men to 
the same point. That made a total of thirty- 
one and all we had was one ambulance and 
one water-truck! I still don't know how 
we did it- We were jammed closer than 
sardines. The water-truck had twenty men 
clinging to its sides. The Third Aux was 
in retreat all right. 

From Waymes to Malmedy is only a few 
miles. At the halfway point, we passed the 
spot where the road to St. Vith turns off. 
It was now about noon and the area was 
deserted. Two hours later, Battery B of 
the 28Jth Field Artillery Observation Bat- 
talion passed the same spot. This time, tanks 
of the 1st Panzer Division were coming up. 
The tanks opened fire and quickly subdued 
the Americans who had only small arms. The 
Americans were herded into a field by the 
side of the road. There were about two 
hundred of them. A German private in a 
command car stood up and fired two shots 
into the group. Immediately, machine guns 
opened up. They raked the field back and 
forth. The Americans were mowed down 
in a matter of seconds. Only a few survived. 
This was the notorious Malmedy massacre. 
We missed Maimedy by just two hours! 

In Malmedy we found the 44th Evac and 
the 67th Evac set up in school buildings. 
Rifle and machine gun fire could be heard 
everywhere. We learned that German bomb- 
ers had been over and that the road to Eupen 
had been cut by paratroopers. Everybody 
was in a dither. No one knew what to do 
or where to go. A tank commander stopped 
his tank and asked me if I knew which way 
he should go! I told him to keep right on 
going and he would see plenty of Germans, 

We knew the 44th Evac quite well. It 
was being commanded by Colonel Blatt. The 
hospital had been only moderately busy and 
there was adequate help. For a moment, 
things seemed to be quiet and we all went 
upstairs to take a nap. Dorner and his men 
came in soon afterwards. But Dorner was 


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disgusted. He was sweating out orders to 
report to Oxford where his hospital was 
located and he had had enough of the war, 
'Call me if the Krauts come down the street,' 
he said as he let himself down on his cot, 
dressed in nothing but his shorts, A moment 
later, he was fast asleep. 

We did not have to wake him up. The 
racket was terrific. Word spread like wiid- 
fire: 'The Germans are on the way! Every- 
body get out under his own power!* That 
was about two o'clock, the very time of the 
massacre. We all sat up and looked at one 
another. There was no longer any desire to 
be a hero. We had lost every piece of prop- 
erty we owned and we knew that the stuff 
was gone for good* We were in a tight spot. 

The entire 44th Evac poured out on the 
street, Bud Dorner at the head. He didn't 
even take time to put on his shirt and was 
running at a dog trot in his shorts. At any 
other time, we would have laughed ourselves 
silly because Bud is a big fellow and he was 
struggling to get into his pants as he ran. 
Pretty soon, Colonel Blatt raced by, shouting 
at the top of his voice: 'Hurry up! They are 
coming down the road! 1 Til never forget 
the scene. 

The 44th made its way to Spa on foot 
and by truck. Our team was instructed to 
proceed to Luxembourg without delay. That 
was a little too far to walk, so the 154th 
Medical Group (an administrative outfit 
functioning under Corps) supplied us with 
a truck. We loaded quickly and headed out. 
Our road lay through Stavelot. We were 
going like a bat out of hell and I thought 
that our driver was doing a bang-up job. I 
congratulated him on his dexterity, 'Thanks, 
Captain/ he said. 'This is the first time I 
have driven one of these!* 

About halfway to Stavelot, we were 
stopped by an American tank. We inquired. 
'Get back where you came from, 1 was the 
advice. 'The Germans have a road block up 

ahead.* We raced back. Again we missed 
disaster by inches. Later that same after- 
noon, a convoy carrying the 134th Medical 
Group was bombed and two doctors, one 
of whom I knew well, were killed. 

We reached Spa again at about four 
o'clock and listened to Headquarters for a 
while. They laughed at the idea that they 
might have to retreat. The next day they 
damn well did. All the way to Huy! I had 
some mail and Christmas packages waiting 
for me and grabbed them on the run* Then, 
Colonel Crisler called us in and gravely told 
us that we were to go to Bastogne forthwith. 
'The Germans are everywhere/ he said. 'Use 
your best judgment.' Bastogne? The name 
did not mean anything to us. 

We left late in the afternoon. It was 
almost dark. We could have gone all the 
way to Liege but we decided to take the 
direct route, through Malmedy and St. Vith, 
This was the day that the 7th Armored 
was trying to get through to St, Vith, The 
traffic congestion was unbelievable. Every- 
where, the tanks of the 7th Armored ran 
head-on into the fleeing troops of the 106th. 
At one point a major, fighting mad, told his 
tank drivers to keep on going, even if it 
meant pushing the oncoming vehicles off 
the road. It was no use. The tanks were 

South of St. Vith, the roads were strange- 
ly deserted. We did not know what to make 
of it but kept on going as fast as we dared 
in the black-out. Suddenly, we saw a bright 
glow ahead* It was a farmhouse that had 
been set on fire. I figured that we'd better 
turn around and get back to St. Vith, The 
road was narrow here and, to help our in- 
experienced driver, I got out. There was a 
side-road and I motioned the driver to back 
into it. Then, just as I told him to turn his 
wheels, there was a roar of engines and three 
dark shapes loomed up out of the darkness. 
Tanks! The situation was such that the tank 


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drivers were blinded by the fire in the dis- 
tance whereas I had the advantage of look- 
ing at them with the light in my back. Even 
so, I could see no more than a faint outline. 
The lead tank was advancing at a pretty 
good clip. I thought that he would crowd 
our truck off the road and so I ran towards 
him, swinging my arms and shouting at the 
top of my voice. He could not hear me but 
he saw me and he throttled his engine. He 
said something that did not make sense* Then 
I had a terrific shock: he was talking Ger- 

Suddenly the whole desperate situation 
dawned on me. These were German tanks 
and the only reason they had not opened fire 
was that they took us to be Germans too! 
They were now not more than twenty yards 
away and I had to think fast- If I said some- 
thing in English, we would be discovered 
and we never would have gotten out alive. 
I had to continue the deception* But how? 
The only German word I knew was "Ja." I 
had no choice. Mustering my last bit of 
strength, I shouted back f Ja, ja, jaP Then, 
without waiting for an answer, 1 ran back 
towards our truck and told the driver to 
step on it. He excelled himself* We shot 
out of the side road, caromed around the 
corner, and beat it, We didn't even look 
back. Quickly we outdistanced the tanks. 

When we arrived in Bastogne it was mid- 
night. Just twenty-four short hours since 
we received the first alarm! Brother, we had 
had it." 

These men pulled out of Bastogne the next 
day and joined the third platoon of the 42nd 
Field Hospital in Luxembourg* The story 
now returns to the first platoon of the 47th 
Field Hospital at Waymes on that same 
eventful 17 December. 

The Teams of 

Majors Hurwitz and Htggiubotham 

The Third Aux teams at Waymes were 
as follows : 

Major Alfred Hurwitz, Capt Albert W* 
Brown, Capt Silas A. Coffin, Capt Anthony 
Noto, T-4 George G* Reedy, T-4 Marvin 
K, Wormington* T-5 James E* Battles*, Pfc 
William Konikoff. 

Major James M* Higginbotham, Major J. 
Russell Smith, Capt Mark Wallfield, Capt 
Julius Hersh, T-5 Claris W. Dixon, T-5 
Edward H. Fitzpatrick, T-f Arville E. 
Shanholtzer, T-J Jan Prys. 

Third Aux nurses were Norine Webster, 
Reba Greer , Mabel Jessop, and Mary Mur- 
phy* Let Mabel Jessop speak. 

"When we went to breakfast on the 
morning of 17 December, we all knew that 
there was a push on. But even our com- 
manding officer was completely in the dark 
about the seriousness of the situation. The 
only source of news we had was the battle 

Nolo, Hurwifx, Al Drown, Smaial, 8a ft lei, 
Reedy, Glaud Smith. 


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casualty* His words carry the weight and 
authority of the eye witness but they are 
distorted by personal emotions. It is a worm's 
eye view. Nevertheless, we all eagerly ques- 
tioned the soldiers that were brought to us 
during the early hours of that day. They 
were men from the 2nd Division and the 
99th Division and they were in a state of 
acute jitters. Most of them had been forced 
to retreat before an overwhelming force of 
tanks on the Elsenborn moors. 

At about nine o'clock there was a sudden 
influx of patients and personnel from the 
platoon at Butgenbach (this was the flight 
that has been related by Captain, Warren) , 
Then we knew that things looked bad. We 
made a half-hearted attempt to be cheerful 
and started looking after the new arrivals 
as best we could. Very soon orders came to 
transfer all patients to the 67th Evacuation 
Hospital at Matmedy. Yet, we ourselves were 
to stay and operate the hospital! Evidently 
we were considered expendable. Next, Pey- 
ton and Dorner's teams were ordered out. 
This only heightened our anxiety. The noon 
hour came and went, but nobody could eat. 
The food was the usual cold, tasteless mix- 
ture of canned hamburger and dehydrated 
potatoes. Why eat when you might have to 
run for your life? It is better not to be en- 
cumbered by a full stomach. 

At one o'clock, the bomb burst. Evacu- 
ate immediately! Patients first, nurses next, 
personnel last. I never saw such a quick job 
of loading. Within ten minutes, all our pa- 
tients were on their way and the surgical 
teams went with them. This convoy reached 
Malmedy without incident. About ten min- 
utes after they had left, it was our turn. 
There were ten of us (six platoon nurses 
besides the four of us). We all piled into 
one ambulance. We left everything behind 
except for a few toilet articles. 

At half past one we approached the inter- 
section where half an hour later the Mal- 
medy massacre took place. The tank bat- 

talion responsible for this atrocity was com- 
ing up from the south at the very time we 
approached from the east. If the weather 
had been a little clearer, we would actually 
have seen them. As it was, we did not see 
them, but we certainly heard the shelling 
with which they announced their arrival. 
This shelling began at half past one and was 
aimed at our convoy. Our driver drove off 
the road and sought protection in a wooded 
area. Here, we found ourselves in the com- 
pany of half a dozen trucks in the same 
predicament. The shells were still coming 
in. Sister, were we scared! How could we 
ever get out again? When shells land so close 
that you can see the explosions right in front 
of you, you think that the enemy must 
know exactly where you are and you expect 
to be blown up with the next blast. We 
will never know if the Germans did see us 
but it doesn't make much difference. We 
all agreed that it would be folly to try to 
get back in the trucks. Our only chance 
was to crawl back towards Waymes. And 
that is what we did. 

Did you ever try to make yourself incon- 
spicuous when you are wearing dark clothes 
and everything else is white? Before I had 
gone a hundred yards, I was covered with 
mud and slush and melting snow and the 
others looked even worse. Soon we saw more 
American trucks coming our way and we 
signaled them to stop. The shelling had 
stopped now and it seemed safe for the on- 
coming vehicles to turn around. We clam- 
bered on and were back in Waymes a few 
minutes later. But whew! That half hour 
in the ditch! I chink I lost ten pounds there. 

In Waymes we found the hospital com- 
pletely dismantled. Only a skeleton crew 
remained. We surveyed our situation. Ob- 
viously our retreat to the west had been cut 
off. Retreat to the east would take us right 
into Butgenbach which we knew to be in 
enemy hands. Retreat to the south would 
have taken us to St. Vith which was already 


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surrounded. Retreat to the north would 
have been possible except that this road junc- 
tion was located a mile to the east, the very 
direction that we most wished to avoid. We 
were surrounded. There was nothing to do 
but await capture. 

Our building had been shorn of what little 
comfort it had offered up until this time. 
No stoves, no lights, no warmth. We felt 
as if we were already in prison. In our dis- 
may, we retreated to the basement which 
seemed about the safest place. Some of us 
had not opened yesterday's mail and started 
reading it. There was a letter from Michigan 
for me. It started 'Dear Mabel, You lucky 
devil. How I wish that I were with you 
now,* I managed a wry smile. Then, Mary 
Murphy spoke up. 'Listen to this, kids,' Her 
letter described in extravagant detail a party 
that was to be held in her home town on 
17 December. The letter ended: 'Hurry 
back here I* 

Shells fell all afternoon, some within a few 
hundred yards. Our building was not hit in 
this barrage. We divided our time between 
the basement and the upstairs. At six o'clock, 
two ambulances arrived with casualties from 
the fight at Butgenbach. They were in se- 
vere shock and in need of immediate atten- 
tion. Thankful for a chance to get busy 
once more and to forget our troubles, we 
unloaded equipment and set to work. More 
ambulances arrived. We did the best we 

At two o'clock in the morning, somebody 
said that a German halftrack had passed our 
building. We had not been aware of any 
particular fight in the vicinity and assumed 
that the town had passed into enemy hands 
without a struggle. So we were prisoners! 

All during the night, American soldiers 
who had been cut off came straggling in. 
Some were from service units and others 
from combat units. That posed a problem. 
The combat soldiers were fully armed. If 

we allowed them to stay, the Germans would 
accuse us of violating the rules of the Geneva 
Convention. So we made them deposit their 
weapons in a distant part of the building. 
The commanding officer of the platoon de- 
stroyed his records. The rest of us tried to 
remember that lecture on the rights of 
prisoners of war. All I could think of was 
'name, rank, and serial number.' But what 
if they asked all sorts of trick questions? 
The Germans were supposed to be darn 
clever at that. 

The morning of 18 December was our 
chance to breathe. The mess sergeant man- 
aged to put up a hot breakfast, the shelling 
had stopped, and everybody took a new 
lease on life. Perhaps we would not be cap- 
tured after all. 

At ten, 1 left my ward to go into the 
corridor and grab a smoke. The corridor ran 
along a courtyard which in turn emptied on 
the street by means of a gate, I was looking 
at this gate when I saw two men approach. 
One was dressed in a German captain's uni- 
form. The other wore an American uniform 
with a sergeant's stripes and a Jth Armored 
shoulder patch. They had their rifles in the 
ready. The one in the American uniform 
shouted to our truck drivers in English: 
'Your hospital is under arrest. Everybody 
line up in the yard!* I stood thunderstruck. 
Was this how it felt to be captured? 

Although we had plenty of weapons to 
overpower our would-be captors, nobody 
dared move for fear of violating the Red 
Cross rules. We marched out into the court- 
yard and lined up. While the German cap- 
tain kept his gun pointed at us, his partner 
went through the lines, telling everybody to 
surrender personal equipment. In a short 
time he had a dandy collection of pocket 
knives, bandage scissors, and fountain pens. 
Til never forget those moments. The 
thought that was going through my mind 
was: What if they capture my diary? Diaries 


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were forbidden in the combat zone but most 
o£ us kept them anyway. Mine was tucked 
away in my bedding roll, down at the other 
end of the building. I was just debating 
whether I should even make an effort to find 
it when the 'sergeant* announced that the 
entire hospital staff {including all our pa- 
tients), was to be loaded immediately. We 
had ten minutes to gather our belongings. 
That finished all chance of retrieving the 

Major Laird, our platoon commander, 
played skilfully for time. 'What of all our 
seriously wounded?' he said. *lt is contrary 
to the rules of the Geneva Convention to 
move them,* The SS captain delivered a 
long tirade which was in turn translated into 
English by the accomplice for the benefit of 
Major Laird. There followed an interchange 
of questions and answers, arguments and 
counterarguments, until finally the SS man 
relented. Non-transportables were to be left 
behind in the care of four medical officers, 
all the nurses, and a dozen technicians. 
Everybody else was to get on the trucks 
right away. It looked bad. 

Getting several hundred men on trucks 
under those conditions is no small matter. 
It involves lots of pushing and pulling, 
shouting and shoving. Men broke ranks, 
made noise, dropped equipment. The lone 
SS captain could not be everywhere. In the 
confusion, one of our drivers slipped away. 
Luck was with him. Although the street 
was filled with excited civilians, none of 
them paid any attention to the scurrying 
American. Combat troops were nowhere 
to be seen but an AA unit had just pulled 
up down the road and our driver gave them 
the word. In a moment, three half-tracks 
started towards the school. 

Throughout all this, I was startled to see 
that the citizens of Waymes welcomed the 
Germans with open arms. These were the 
people that we had entertained at our mess 

and given our candy to! The German soldier 
in American uniform was evidently a 
nephew of the woman who ran the tavern 
where we had our quarters. We had given 
her lots of our things and she was always 
a model of hospitality and graciousness. But 
on this day, she had the crust to come out 
on the street, embrace her nephew, and point 
at us in a gesture of contempt! It was galling 
in the extreme. 

Things now happened so fast that nobody 
could keep track of them. Evidently, our 
captors were warned about the approaching 
half-tracks and they started running even 
before we knew what was going on. Half- 
way across the street, they were caught in 
the fire from the AA men. The Germans 
fired back but their bullets went wild. We 
ducked. That was one thing we had learned 
well the day before. All our combat men 
dived for their guns and joined in the melee. 
It was like the hounds chasing the hare and, 
in this case, the hounds suffered more than 
the hare. Several Americans were wounded 
but the Germans, to the best of my knowl- 
edge, escaped. At least, we never saw them 

At eleven, just one hour after we were 
captured, a lieutenant colonel of the First 
Division entered our courtyard, gun in hand. 
In stentorian tones, he announced that the 
situation was under control. We all came 
outside, ready to sing the praises of our 
liberators. Before we could burst out into 
song, machine gun fire broke out again, and 
not very far away either. Anxiously, we 
looked around. 'Don't worry,* said the colo- 
nel. 'That's my men chasing the Jerries. 
You are now enjoying the protection of the 
famous First Division ! * We could have 
hugged him. 

Major Laird decided that this was a good 
time to get away. He ordered all the pa- 
tients loaded on the trucks. Then we got on, 
and after that, there was very little room 


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for anything else. All our belongings stayed 
behind, never to be seen again. When Major 
Laird went back a week later, he found the 
place literally ripped apart from stern to 
stern. Our friends, the civilians, took every- 
thing that they could use and scattered the 
rest to the four corners. They did the most 
thorough job of looting I have ever seen. 
Even an Arab could not have improved on it. 

We pulled out amid the din of battle. 
Where could we go? Malmedy was a ghost 
town. Spa was being evacuated. Liege was 
supposedly safe. And yet, when we arrived 
there that evening and found a temporary 
refuge at the 15th General Hospital, we 
heard that fifteen Americans had just lost 
their lives in a buzz-bomb explosion there. 
No place was free from the Hitler rage. We 
felt like hunted animals. 

The 47th Field Hospital was eventually 
reunited at Spa a week later. Practically 
everybody of the first and third platoon had 
lost all he had. We were indeed a chastened 
bunch but we sang our Christmas carols 
with the solemn gratitude that our lives had 
been spared. They were spared because of 
the magnificent stand of our American 
fighting soldiers* It was to them that we 
owed our safety. Never shall we forget it." 

The third day of the offensive, 1 SDecem- 
ber, was a'day"oTcrisisr The" Germans wenT 
"stalling everything on a quick success. They 
had landed parachute troops in American 
uniform along the Eupcn-Malmedy road 
and these men roamed the countryside for 
days, wreaking havoc wherever they went. 
Butgenbach was in German hands, Malmedy 
was under heavy pressure, Stavelot had fall- 
en. An armored spearhead had continued 
beyond Stavelot to La Gleize at which point 
it was only five miles from Spa. Spa was 
important to the Germans, They sent their 
tanks forward under cover of the murky 
sky. There was very little to stop them. 

Third Aux Headquarters at Spa 
At First Army Headquarters, General 
Hodges knew of the danger that threatened 
him but he did not know from which side 
the Germans would come. Everybody on 
the "palace guard" was pressed into service. 
Cooks, clerks, bakers, censors, quartermaster 
squads, truck drivers, ordnance crews, in- 
telligence teams, everybody who could tote 
a gun was in arms. Colonel Crisler alerted 
his men at the villa. None of them had any 
idea of the proximity of the enemy. They 
congregated in the yard, scanned the skies, 
and made the usual wisecracks. Then they 
saw something that made them shut up. 

The battle for Spa was fought on the 
ridge between the town and the valley of 
the Ambleve directly to the south. The first 
thing the Third Auxers saw was a strafing 
attack of American P-47's. Those P-47's 
saved Spa, How they did it is a story in 
itself. The tanks coming towards Spa were 
spotted quite by accident. The air artillery 
liaison officer of First Army Headquarters 
had taken to the air in a Cub, even though 
the weather limited visibility to less than a 
mile. As he wandered around through the 
low overcast, he happened on the German 
tanks that were just coming out of the val- 
ley at Andrimont. The major reached for 
his intercom. "Come down here, if you want 
to see something." He was talking to a flight 
of P-47's up above. That was all the fighters 
needed, Down they came and they caught 
the German task force in the most vulner- 
able position, on a narrow, hollow road 
without avenue of escape. Never was there 
a more one-sided battle. 

Even though Spa was saved, it was no 
longer a desirable Headquarters location. At 
five o*clock, word was passed to vacate. 
Harold Hansen was in charge of loading and 
he used his head. He ditched all the circu- 
lars, all the reports, all the inventories, and 
he took along all the blankets, all the heaters, 
all the radios, 


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"I really ought to booby-trap this place t " 
he commented fiendishly as he made his last 

"Well, why don't you throw life-savers 
on the floor?" suggested Foregger. "The 
Krauts might trip over them!" 

"Hell no/* said Hansen. "If they can trip 
over them, they can eat them. But HI blow 
up the generators right now/* And he made 
off in the direction of the garage. 

The Third Aux was not the only unit 
abandoning Spa, A regular exodus took 
place. The townspeople gathered in the 
streets to see the trucks pull out and it was 
obvious that they were expecting to see the 
Germans pull around the next corner. To 
be in a retreat of that sort is the most de- 
moralizing experience a soldier can suffer. 
Darkness settled. The convoys stalled a hun- 
dred times. A gentle rain began to fall. 
Brattesani said: "Let's keep on going till 
we are home!" He spoke for many. 

The trucks kept going only as far as Huy, 
a little town on the Meuse. Before long, 
Huy was bulging at the seams because hun- 

Higginborham, Joseph Smith, Wo I! fie Id, 
Henh, McNeeley, Pryi, Shonholn*r, Dixon. 

dreds of units converged on it that night. 
The Aigle Noir, the only presentable hotel 
in town, was full of generals and colonels. 
With such competition. Third Auxers had 
to take a back-seat. All the schools, con- 
vents, and warehouses were jammed to the 
gills and when Colonel Francis scouted 
around for a place, the choice was quickly 
narrowed down to the opera house, the con- 
servatory, and a pension nat pour jeunes 
f tiles! For a few days, officers and men lived 
amid the faded glories of the opera house. 
Later, they set themselves up in the con- 
servatory and cooked their meals in the 
shadow of two grand pianos. One place was 
as bad as another. Only the Aigle Noir pro- 
vided warmth and comfort and this was 
where Third Auxers drowned their sorrows 
for the rest of the Bulge. 

The Teams of 
Majors Partington and Lavieri 
At St. Vith on 1 6 December Third Auxers 
at the third platoon of the 42nd Field Hos- 
pital listened apprehensively to the rum- 
blings of the battle that threatened to engulf 
them. Well might they be worried. St. Vith 
was high on the list of German objectives. 
The 10€th Division had been torn to bits. 
Enemy spearheads slashed to within a few 
miles of the town. Nobody knew what was 
up. The day passed in utter gloom, 

The teams here had the following com- 

Major Philip F. Partington, Major Ronald 
W. Adams, Capt Paul Polski, Capt Alroy 
G, West, Clarence C. Whitman, Clifford C. 
Inman, James R. Netherland, James R* 

Major Frank J, Lavieri (Whitsitt was in 
Paris), Capt Michael M. Donovan, Capt. 
Wentworth L. Osteen, Capt George Wolf 
(on detached service), T-J Matt A. Rauti- 


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ola, T-J Daniel Overly, T-S Harold J, 

The nurses were Ruth Maher, Alice Short, 
Mary Hill, and Thelma Horgen. Ruth Ma- 
her was on pass to Luxembourg and Alice 
Short to Paris. 

The next day Major Adams squeezed into 
St. Vith following a Paris leave. Still in Class 
A uniform, he walked into the operating 
room while Partington was doing a difficult 
chest exploration. The patient was from 
the 106th Division. He had suffered a bullet 
wound of the axilla and was obviously in 
grave danger from internal bleeding. The 
damage involved one of the major blood 
vessels and Partington had his hands full. 

"Good thing it's on the left," observed 
Adams as he peered over Partington's shoul- 
der. "If it had been on the right, it would 
have gotten the carotid." 

"Let me have a ligature,** said Partington, 
holding out his hand. 

At this very moment there was a terrific 
explosion in the courtyard. Window glass 
was blown clear across the room. Plaster 
came down in great chunks* Lights went 
out. Captain West was knocked down. 
Adams was hit by a falling chair. Parting- 
ton was left alone at the table, one hand on 
the bleeding artery, the other groping for 
the ligature. 

A platoon officer stuck his head in the 

"We've been hit! The major says to pull 
out right away. Are you fellows coming 
with us?" 

"Are we?" said Partington with custo- 
mary under-emphasis. "Why, I should hope 


Partington was one of the most careful 
surgeons in the Third Aux. It was nothing 
for him to spend three hours exposing a 
deeply imbedded foreign body or removing 
an irreparably damaged part of the intes- 

German ronk at La Gleive. Thii tank wai part of the talk force that threatened 
Spa on 1 8 December. 



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tinal tract, But this time it was different, 
German tanks were breathing down his neck, 
Working by the beam of a flashlight, he 
completed his dissection of the subclavian 
artery, placed his ligature, and closed the 

"Now let's see if we can get out of here," 
he said as he put in the last suture. 

By this time, most of the hospital was 
already on the road. All equipment was left 
behind. Within half an hour, the school 
building was deserted! 

The trip from St. Vith to Vielsalm was 
a struggle. On the narrow road the retreat- 
ing troops of the 106th Division and the 
advancing tanks of the 7th Armored Divi- 
sion clashed in the most incredible traffic 
snarl of the war. Trucks, jeeps, half-tracks, 
tanks, self-propelled guns, and carriers of all 
sorts stretched as far as the eye could see. 
At Sart-les-St.-Vith, the Third Aux truck 
was completely pushed off the road. In the 
truck just behind, Third Auxers watched an 
artillery sergeant of the 1 06th get his dander 
up. As one Sherman tank after another 
passed the spot, the sergeant jumped from 
his truck and leaped on the turret of a tank. 

"The hell with the artillery," he shouted 
triumphantly. "I am going with the tanks. 
They know how to fight. I joined the Army 
to fight— not to run." 

The hospital ot Sp«. Hurwiti and Korn- 
field at work. Herah and Al Brawn look en. 

The tanks of the 7th Armored did know 
how to fight. They moved into St. Vith on 
17 December and defended the town against 
all comers until 2 J December when they 
retreated under orders. It was this tenacious 
defense, together with the same kind of 
resistance at other key-points along the line, 
that upset the whole timing of the German 
campaign. Time was what the Americans 
needed. Every day of delay was another day 
to bring up reinforcements. 

At Vielsalm, the situation was completely 
out of hand. Wounded were everywhere* 
It was almost dark when the Third Auxers 
arrived. Making their rounds by flashlight, 
they tried to do at least a triage. As sur- 
geons, they could not be idle while men 
died of shock, of peritonitis, and of a hun- 
dred preventable complications. Something 
had to be done. 

By midnight, the Third Auxers had man- 
aged to set up an operating room of a sort. 
At least, there was a table, a set of sterile 
instruments, and a few bottles of pentothal. 
The first patient was brought in, Partington 
picked up a knife. But before he could 
make the incision* a sergeant rushed up with 
a message from the Headquarters of the 
Medical Group. "Cease and desist," was the 
essence of the text. "It is against the rules 
to do major surgery in a clearing station!" 
Third Auxers looked at each other. That 
was the last straw* 

The next day, anxiety heightened. Strag- 
glers descended on Vielsalm with the calam- 
itous news: The enemy was advancing with 
undiminished speed. During the afternoon 
the clearing station received orders to evac- 
uate and to leave all non-transportable 
casualties behind. Mary Hill and Thelma 
Horgen went on to the 107th Evacuation 
Hospital. The rest of the Third Auxers 
were designated as a holding crew at Viel- 
salm. A pall of gloom settled on the men. 

"You see? I told you so," said Lavieri> who 


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knew what it was to be expendable. ""We 
are the bait. The Third Auxiliary Suicide 
Group. That's what they ought to call us." 

"Nuts," said Partington. 

"Nuts, 1 ' echoed all the others. 

Within an hour, Vielsalm was a grave- 
yard. Not only the clearing station but 
most of the combat elements of the 106th 
Division had moved on. Shells began com- 
ing In. Partington faced a difficult decision. 
Should he stay in Vielsalm and see his men 
sacrificed or should he make a run for it 
while there still was a chance? Evidently 
he could expect no help from the outside. 
Third Aux Headquarters did not even know 
where he was. In this extremity, he decided 
to take matters in his own hands. He gave 
the order to load all casualties in the few 
remaining vehicles and to retreat. 

They left at night* It was bitter cold 
and the snowy landscape of the Ardennes 
made it seem even colder. For the first few 
miles, the men traveled alone. Then, they 
ran into the same traffic congestion that had 
plagued them two days earlier. At every 
intersection, vehicles were lined up for miles, 
waiting for a chance to get through. It was 
during one of these jams that night raiders 
came over. The Third Auxers knew very 
well what was going on when they heard 
the familiar rat-tat-tat, but they were 
wedged so tight in their places that it was 
impossible to get out. They just sat, breath- 
less and shaking, like the condemned who 
waits to have his head cut off by the swords- 
man. But no heads fell. The planes made 
two runs and then disappeared down the 
valley of the Salm. The men breathed again. 
"Home was never like this/' said one of 
them. There was hollow laughter. 

At midnight, the trucks arrived at La 
Roche where the second platoon of the 106th 
Clearing Station was stationed. There were 
no facilities for surgery. The Third Auxers 

bedded their patients down and congregated 
in the only vacant room. 

Lavieri found a candle and lit it. The 
flickering flame revealed a gymnasium. It 
had been a long hard day. The men had 
not been out of their clothes since they left 
St. Vith. Adams was still in his Class A 
uniform. Silently, the men spread their 

Lavieri began rummaging in his musette 
bag. He fished out a tin can and opened 
it with a flourish. 

"How would you all like to have a piece 
of nice, fresh fruit cake? Straight from 
Chicago! Step this way, please!** 

Unbelievable as it seemed, Lavieri had 
salvaged his Christmas package! He was the 
only one who did. The Third Aux had bad 
luck with its Christmas presents. The 1942 
shipment came to grief in North Africa 
and the 1944 shipment fell into the hands 
of the Sixth Panzer Grenadiers. 

The next morning the men woke up with 
aching limbs and sagging spirits, They found 
themselves in a threadbare building that of- 
fered little more than a roof. La Roche was 
no better than Vielsalm or St. Vith. In fact, 
these three towns formed the central axis 
around which the Bulge was now rapidly 

Lavieri probes for foreign body while Meini, 
Qjtcen, Cooper, and Donovan look on + Pic- 
ture token at St. Virh on 16 December. 


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taking shape. The Germans were pressing 
hard. That evening, Third Auxers went to 
sleep in the uneasy knowledge that they 
were just two jumps ahead of the enemy. 
When they woke up, it was only one jump, 

What awakened them was a German shell 
that exploded in the courtyard. 

"What's that?* 1 asked Osteen, his eyes half 

"The Krauts are sending their calling 
cards," said Donovan and he jumped up 
to inspect the damage. 

"Well, that's all we need,*' said Parting- 
ton. "Let's get out of here.'* 

This was easier said than done. The Third 
Auxers were castaways. They had no trans- 
portation, no liaison, no way of communi- 
cating with Headquarters. They were strict- 
ly on their own. 

"Paul, you go out and see if you can find 
us a truck," said Partington to his team- 
mate. Captain Polski. 

"A truck? What kind of a truck?" was 
Polski's surprised reply. 

"Any kind, just as long as it has plenty 
of gasoline,** 

Polski was the right man for the job. He 
had been with a regimental medical de- 
tachment and he spoke the truck drivers' 
language. Within ten minutes he was back: 

"Major, your truck awaits without." 

"Without what?" 

"Without a driver!" 

"Well, what's the matter with that? You 
can drive, can't you?" 


"Okay. We're off." 

The Third Auxers piled in. An hour later 
a second shell came over and demolished a 
wing of the school building. Six men lost 
their Jives 

The Third Aux truck headed for the 
I07th Evacuation Hospital at Libin. It 

passed through Herbaimont, site of the cap- 
ture of the 526th Medical Company the pre- 
vious evening. Little did the Third Auxers 
realize what had happened here. And it was 
just as well because such knowledge would 
only have added to their discomfitures. 

On 19 December General Eisenhower or- 
dered a drastic revision of the front. Third 
Army abandoned its offensive in the Saar 
and rushed to the southern shoulder of the 
Bulge. First Army suspended operations 
towards the Roer and regrouped itself along 
the northern shoulder. On 20 December^ 
this tremendous flanking movement was well 
under way and the Third Aux truck en 
route to Libin was caught in the backwash. 
The road was one continuous line of vehicles. 
After four hours of alternately creeping and 
standing, Polski drew up in front of a beau- 
tiful chateau. The 107th Evac was deluged 
with casualties and the Third Auxers were 
received with open arms. The nurses were 
here and so were the teams of Cameron and 
WeiseL The two freshly-arrived teams went 
to work. They did not stop until the next 

It was now 21 December, the day of the 
great German push towards the Meuse at 
Dinant. In the morning the Third Aux 
nurses were evacuated via Carlsbourg to 

The chutifiu at Libin. 


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Sedan. The teams of Cameron and Weisel 
left for Ciney. The teams of Partington and 
Lavieri stayed. These men had taken a beat- 
ing. They needed a rest. The adjutant as- 
signed them a suite of rooms on the top floor 
of the chateau and told them that they were 
off duty for the time being. The men were 
asleep in a few minutes. 

Three hours later, Lavieri woke up, He 
does not know why he woke up, except that 
he sensed something wrong. He looked out 
over the chateau grounds. Everything was 
suspiciously quiet. Yesterday this spot had 
been a beehive; today it was a graveyard. 
Lavieri became alarmed. He dressed and 
went downstairs to investigate. The corri- 
dors were deserted, the rooms stripped down, 
the equipment gone. Not a soul to be seen. 
This was incredible. What was going on? 

Quickening his steps, Lavieri came upon 
a big hall that had been used for adminis- 
trative offices. A lone clerk was cleaning out 
his desk in great agitation. 

"What's the matter, sergeant?" asked 
Lavieri. "Where's everybody?" 

The sergeant looked up in surprise. "You 
mean you don't know that we have evac- 
uated, Captain? This place isn't safe any- 
more. German tanks are supposed to be 
coming down the road right now, Every- 
body has gone to Carlsbourg. I was sent back 
to burn these papers!" 

Suddenly the truth dawned upon Lavieri. 
The 107th had packed up in a hurry and 
the Third Auxers on the top floor had been 
completely forgotten. If he had not hap- 
pened to wake up, they would all have slept 
right into captivity. There was no time to 
lose. He dashed back upstairs. 

"Get up fellows. We got to get out of 
here. Quick! The Germans will be here any 

The Third Auxers jumped up, dazed and 
befuddled. They dressed in record time 
and arrived in the courtyard, hoping and 

praying that their truck would still be there. 
It was! They scrambled aboard, Polski at 
the wheel. The engine turned over* coughed, 
and died. 

"Did you check the gasoline?" said Part- 

"Sure, but that was yesterday," was the 
answer, "Somebody might have emptied the 

"Hell's bells. Can't a man leave his own 
truck without having it molested? What 
is this Army coming to anyway?" 

"Maybe it was the civilians," ventured 

"Never mind who it was. We've got to 
get out of here." 

On the far side of the building a car was 
starting up, 

"What's that? German tanks?" 
"Tanks, my hat. That's a jeep." 
"Run and catch him!" 

Adams ran around the building as fast as 
his legs would carry him. He arrived just 
in time to flag down the jeep with the clerk 
who had been burning the office records. 

"Wait a minute, sergeant. Have you got 
some extra gas?" 

"Yes sir. Take this can." 

Adams hurried back* clutching the jerry- 
can. He poured the precious liquid into the 
tank, Polski started the engine. With a 
great roar the vehicle took off. As it cleared 
the gate, Partington reflected that now he 
did not own so much as a tooth brush. It 
was the fourth retreat. 

Like a bat out of heaven, the truck tore 
into Carlsbourg. The town was jammed 
with Third Army troops. Polski drove to 
the marketplace. Suddenly there was a 
familiar voice. 

"Well, III be damned. What are you fel- 
lows doing here? We thought that you were 
still at St. Vith!" It was Major Maley. 


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"Well, St. Vith was a little too hot for 
us. We left there last Sunday." Partington 
made a quick calculation. Was it really only 
four days? It seemed more like four years! 

"This is Third Army territory. You can't 
stay here. Go to the 130th General at Ciney. 
They need teams. If you leave now, you can 
still get there today. It*s forty miles." 

At Ciney, seven Third Aux teams had 
already gathered. The 130th General was 
set up in a stately mansion. Life here seemed 
almost civilized. Partington and his party 
enjoyed their first night's sleep in a real bed 
and considered that their troubles were over. 
The next day, Colonel Crisler came by. He 
left a truck in case of another emergency. 
Nobody expected such a thing but it hap- 

On 24 December, the now-familiar words 
rang out: "The Germans are coming down 
the road!" This time, Third Auxers were 
prepared. They piled on their truck with 
practiced precision and they were on their 
way in less time than it takes to say Third 
Auxiliary Surgical Group. German tanks 
did reach Ciney but they were not the same 
hell-bent-for-leather tanks that had borne 
down on St. Vith a week earlier The Pan- 
zers had spent themselvs. Ciney marked 
the farthest outpost of the Bulge, 

The teams from Ciney reached Huy the 
next day. Here they went to work at the 
102nd Evacuation Hospital. At last the 
wild flight was over. The Bulge had passed 
its zenith. 

The Teams of 
Majors Serhsf attd Sutton 
The story now returns to 16 December 
when the second platoon of the 42nd Field 
Hospital at W r ilcz was comings under hrc. 
T*he hospital was - established in a convent. 
Picturesquely situated on a hill, the build- 

ings overlooked not only the valley of the 
Wiltz but also miles upon miles of Ardennes 
country. Headquarters of the 28th Divi- 
sion was set up in the village down below. 

The, teams were those of Serbst and Sut- 
tonT HoweverTthere were certain provtden- 
daTlast-minute changes. Two of Serbst 's 
men were injured a few days before the 
Bulge began and were evacuated. These were 
Pasquale Denicola and Franklin Fisher. Sut- 
ton was on a thirty-day exchange at a Paris 
hospital and was replaced on 17 December 
by Cameron. Thus, when the fateful hour 
came, the Third Auxers lined up as follows: 

Major Charles A. Serbst, Capt Evan 
Tansley, Capt Harry Fisher, Capr Eugene 
F. Galvin, T-4 George F, Broerman, T-4 
James F, McDonald, T-5 Louis Turi. 

Major Duncan A. Cameron, Capt An- 
thony T. Privitera, Capt Sumner "W. Brown, 

The convent at Wiltz. 


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Capt Warren C. Hastings, T-4 Nicholas 
Berkich, T-J James C, Fish, T-f David V. 
Pike, Pfc Lawrence H. Janson. 

The nurses team was made up of Virginia 
Heath, Evelyn Boesiing, Mary Bignolli, and 
Gertrude Fuchs. On 1 6 December, these 
were joined by Ruth Maher who was on her 
way from Luxembourg to St. Vith, 

T he critical day for Wiltz came on 18 
December^ The right flank of the 28th 
Division was steadily being pushed back. In 
the withdrawal, a wide gap was created 
through which the enemy pushed a great 
deal of armor. Enemy thrusts encircled 
whole companies and destroyed them one 
by one. By the end of the day, the Germans 
had salients both norch and south of Wiltz. 

At the hospital, the atmosphere was tense. 
Communications had broken down. Major 
Huber, the platoon commander, tried TO 
reach Medical Group in Bastogne, He had 
no luck. In spite of the hazardous condi- 
tions, Serbst decided to risk a trip to Bas- 
togne. He traveled over a road that was 
already coming under fire and he found out 
very little. Medical Group was just as con- 
fused as the people at Wiltz, A distraught 
adjutant told Serbst to return to Wiltz and 
stand by for further orders. Serbst knew 
that he was in for trouble because there was 
no way of getting orders to Wiltz except 
by special courier. However, he was given 
no choice. He returned to Wiltz, filled with 

In the evening Division Headquarters sent 
word that Wiltz was surrounded. A convoy 
was being made up to take out the remnants 
of the garrison, Nine trucks would be avail- 
able for the hospital, "Be ready at nine 
o'clock," the message read. 

Huber and Serbst discussed their prob- 
lem. What to do with the non-cransport- 
able casualties? Huber wanted to abide by 
Army regulations which said that such cas- 
ualties should not travel. Serbst argued that 

a truck ride could not possibly hurt these 
men as much as the treatment they would 
receive at the hands of the Germans. Serbst 
was right but Huber prevailed. 

The hospital was divided into two sec- 
tions: those to go and those to stay. There 
were 26 non-cransportabies. Cameron and 
Serbst flipped a coin, Cameron won, Serbst 
lost. Besides Serbst's team, Major Huber and 
one other medical officer would remain at 
Wiltz to face the music. 

The trucks took off a little after nine. 
They carried all the transportable patients, 
most of the platoon personnel, the Third 
Aux nurses, and Cameron's men. On the 
outskirts of Wiltz other trucks joined the 
procession. Two half-tracks led the way. 

The retreating troops of the 28th Division 
had thrown up a road block between Wiltz 
and Bastogne. When the half- tracks ap- 
proached this road block they were greeted 
by fire from 28th Division troops. The mis- 
understanding was soon cleared up. The 
head of the column started through, includ- 
ing the hospital group. In the darkness, 
progress was slow and many trucks were still 
waiting when a German shell landed in their 
midst. The wreckage made the road im- 
passable. Several trucks started burning. 
The occupants were forced to continue their 
journey on foot. Some of them were able 
to make their way to Bastogne but the ma- 
jority became lost in the woods. They wan- 
dered around for days in the snow, suffer- 
ing untold hardships. Serbst saw many of 
them, starved and frozen, after they had 
been captured. They were a pitiful sight. 

The trucks that squeezed through the road 
Mock found Bastogne already in the throes 
of siege. By midnight, the Germans were 
only three miles away and there was only 
one combat command of the 10th Armored 
Division to stop them. The Third Auxers 
reported to VIII Corps. "Set up a hospital 
in the monastery," was the order. The raon- 


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astery had been stripped of everything ex- 
cept some tables and chairs. The Third Aux- 
ers decided that they could do no good here. 
At two o'clock in the morning they pulled 
out. The team of Cameron went to the 
107th Evacuation Hospital at Libin and the 
nurses to the 42nd Field Hospital at Sedan. 

For those who stayed behind at Wiltz, the 
prospects were grim. During the night the 
Germans shelled the bridge across the Wiltz 
and the concussions blew out all the win- 
dows, Huber and Serbst moved their pa- 
tients to the basement. It was an anxious 
and haggard group of men that worked 
through the long hours of darkness, fearful 
of what the morning would bring. 

At seven o'clock the men ate a cold break- 
fast. At eight they heard machine gun fire 
in the village. The sounds of battle crept 
closer and closer. Huber seized a bed sheet, 
fashioned it into a white flag, and went out- 
side. He could see German paratroopers on 
the road and tried to attract their attention. 
At first, the Germans kept on firing but 
Huber escaped the bullets. Finally the Ger- 

Teom No. 1 1 . Galvin, Fisher, Tansley, Serbst. 
The enlisted men art nor shown. 

mans saw that they were dealing with a hos- 
pital. They approached Huber and told him 
to line up his men in the courtyard. 

Worn out from their vigil and glad that 
the uncertainty was over, the Third Auxers 
emerged. The first thing the paratroopers 
did was to search their prisoners. They 
seemed to be interested mainly in cigarettes, 
When they came to Harry Fisher, they 
stopped- "!" Fisher cringed. He was 
taken out of the line and marched off. The 
intent was clear. It was a moment of agony 
for the rest of the men, 

"The bastards/' muttered Serbst, "They 
are going to shoot him!" 

A German captain addressed himself to 
the small group of Americans that remained 
in the courtyard. 

"You are prisoners of the Fifth Panzer 
Army. We will establish a Hauptverband- 
platz in this building. You will remain here 
to take care of your own wounded." 

Back in the basement the Third Auxers 
tried to look cheerful in front of their pa- 
tients but they did a poor job of it. Fisher 
was going to be executed I It couldn't be 
worse. The curtain was ringing down on 
Team No. 11. 

The Hauptverbandplatz moved in short- 
ly. It was the German version of a clearing 
station and consisted of five officers and fifty 
enlisted men. The officers tried to be friend- 
ly but did not hesitate to expropriate all 
the hospital supplies. And no wonder. Their 
own equipment consisted of paper bandages, 
crude instruments and make-shift sterilizers. 
The only instrument that was new and shiny 
was the amputation knife. The German sur- 
geons wielded it with uncanny dispatch. 
They would take off an arm or a leg as 
readily as the Americans would incise a boil 
When Serbst registered his amazement, they 
said: "We do not have the time or the money 
to undertake tedious and expensive repara- 
tive surgery. A man with a stump can be 


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discharged in a few weeks. A man with a 
plaster cast uses up a hospital bed for 

During the next few days scores of Amer- 
ican casualties were brought to Wiltz. Many 
of them died for lack of blood. Conditions 
grew steadily worse. There was no heat. 
Supplies were giving out. The news from 
the front was disheartening. Shells landed 
sporadically. The Third Auxers worked in 
a spirit of utter dejection. 

On Christmas Eve, the German officers 
sent several bottles of wine to the basement, 
Serbst ordered the wine passed around to the 
casualties but before this could be done, four 
shells landed in rapid succession in the court- 
yard. Four Americans were injured by fall- 
ing beams and flying glass. The Germans 
suffered even worse. It was a sad Christmas 

On Christmas Day Germans and Amer- 
icans had a joint dinner. The Corps surgeon 
dropped in. He was a jolly sort of fellow and 
promised the Americans a quick return to 
their own troops. As the day wore on, it 
was obvious that the Germans were getting 
worried. Third Army tanks were beginning 
to bite into the southern shoulder of the 
Bulge. American planes came over and 
plastered Wiltz. The building shook to its 
very foundations, 

On 27 December, the Germans decided 
to evacuate. They loaded all their own 
patients first, starting early in the morning. 
At noon it was the Americans* turn. Officers 
and men were separated. There were over 
eighty casualties, at least half of them non- 
transportable. Serbst could hardly conceal 
his bitterness when the wounded had to be 
placed on open trucks for the long journey. 
And a long journey it was. The retreat was 
now general. Roads were jammed. It took 
all day to get to Bitburg, just beyond the 
Siegfried Line. At this point, the convoy 
split up. The wounded were moved to the 

hospitals on the Rhine. The hospital per- 
sonnel were detained in Bitburg. 

Bitburg had no facilities for prisoners of 
war. In fact, it had no facilities for any- 
thing. The driver was completely at a loss. 
Finally, after driving around through the 
blackout for the better part of an hour, he 
dumped his load at the city jail, a ramshackle 
structure that had only two cells. The jailer 
was overwhelmed with this sudden influx. 
He did his best. Nuns brought soup. It was 
thin stuff but it was warm. Third Auxers 
ate like hungry dogs. Then they unrolled 
their blankets and bedded down on the con- 
crete floor. They were dead tired. 

They remained in the Bitburg jail for two 
days. The nuns ran out of soup and the 
jailer was busy with other chores. The pris- 
oners took another hitch In their belts. 

"I always thought that the oubliette went 
out with the Inquisition," said Tansley. 
"Guess I was wrong,*' 

The next morning, 30 December, the 
journey was resumed. The Third Auxers 
including some of the hospital personnel 
were marched to a railroad siding. A train 
was waiting. It was a welcome sight to the 
men who had been dragging their blankets 
and bedding rolls over the wet and muddy 
road. The train took off. It chugged for 
hours along the winding valley of the Mo~ 
selle. At Winningen it came to a halt. Third 
Auxers heard that the bridge was blown and 
that they would be marched into Coblenz 
the following day. 

Again the prisoners were led to the town 
jail. Again they spread their blankets on a 
concrete floor. Again they tried to kill the 
hunger pains by hitching up their belts. The 
day had gone by without any food. 

That evening it started to snow. It snowed 
all night and part of the next morning* 
Then the weather cleared and the men lined 
up for the march. 

"I wonder how far it is," said Serbst, 


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eyeing his sleeping bag, his blankets, his 
musette bag, and his duffel bag with mis- 

"Tog far," said Galvin. "We'll never 
make it*" 

The bridge at Winningen had been 
bombed. A ferryman had strung a cable 
across the river and took the Third Auxers 
across. They began the march, weak with 
hunger and numb with cold. 

"Look at those planes coming down this 
way," said Serbst. "I bet they are after 
the bridge," 

Serbst was right. It was a flight of Amer- 
ican bombers. The men dropped their bur- 
dens and crouched low. Concussions rocked 
the countryside. Water spouts dotted the 
river. Mud and debris flew sky-high. What 
was left of the bridge disintegrated. The 
men picked themselves up. They were cov- 
ered with slush from head to foot. It was 
several minutes before they regained their 

The German guards decided that the main 
road was too dangerous. They switched to 
a trail. This trail led into the hills, rising 
precipitously to an altitude of eight hundred 
feet. It was partly frozen, partly rock- 
strewn. Footing was precarious. The para- 
boots caused painful blisters. The baggage, 
an awkward burden at best, now became a 
threat to progress. One misstep could spell 
disaster. Gradually the precious articles went 
down the steep ravine. First the sleeping 
bags. Next the blankets. Finally the duffel 
bags. At the top, only musette bags re- 

From Winningen to Coblenz by main 
road is barely ten miles but across the hills 
the distance grew to twice that much. And 
the German guards did not tarry. They 
knew that American planes would come 
over again and they wanted to be in a Co- 
blenz air-raid shelter when that happened. 
On and on they went, every step a strain, 

every hill a hazard, every mile a misadven- 
ture. Even the sky turned hostile. Fresh 
snow began to fall. White with fatigue, Gal- 
vin turned to his fellows. "I don't know if 
FII ever get to Coblenz," he said, "Maybe 
Harry Fisher's way out was the easiest." 

At this moment, the Third Auxers were 
already in the foothills overlooking the 
Rhine valley. Soon, they could see the city 
itself. Coblenz was in a strategic location- 
Situated at the confluence of the Moselle and 
the Rhine, it had for years been the tradi- 
tional home of the "Wacht am Rhein." A 
previous generation of Germans had erected 
a huge statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I where the 
two rivers come together and this spot had 
been proudly called the "Deutsche Ecke." 
But there was nothing proud about it "when 
the Third Auxers appeared on the scene. 
Kaiser Wilhelm was hanging head-down in 
a most ignominious position and his horse 
had erupted all sorts of hardware through 
a gaping hole in its side. The scene seemed 
to be symbolic of the fate threatening all 
Germany in the winter of 1945. 

The streets of Coblenz were deserted. It 
was a ghost city. Suddenly the air-raid alarm 
sounded and the streets became filled with 
scurrying civilians on their way to the shel- 
ters. The Americans were swept along in 
the maelstrom. Once inside, they sank to 
the floor. They were exhausted. 

The Coblenz shelters were unique. They 
had been dug into the side of the hills facing 
the Rhine and they were indestructible. At 
the moment the Third Auxers entered they 
were jammed. Thousands of Germans milled 
about. Soon these people began to realize 
that Americans were in their midst and they 
gave vent to their feelings in no uncertain 
terms. "Heraus mit den verdammten Ameri- 
kaner!" The Third Auxers could not under- 
stand the words but the accompanying ges- 
tures were unmistakable, Many an Amer- 
ican bomber crew had been brutally mur- 


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dered under such circumstances* Even the 
guards assumed a threatening attitude. It 
was a moment fraught with peril. 

The Third Auxers picked themselves up 
ind retreated. They had no desire to stay 
in these sinister surroundings. One by one 
they slipped out, their ears still ringing with 
deprecations. Bombs were falling. Serbst 
led his men to a tar-paper shack. 

"May I sweat this one out with you?" 
quipped Tansley. 

"You are welcome, 1 ' was the reply. 

The raid continued for half an hour and 
destroyed the last remaining bridge over 
the Rhine, It was getting dark. The guards 
had instructions to take their prisoners across 
the river. They pressed a rowboat into serv- 
ice. It was a treacherous crossing, made more 
so by the blackout. On the far side, hills 
loomed again. The guards started for Eh- 
renbreitstein. It was a steep road. Higher 
2.nd higher it went, Galvin was near collapse. 
Tansley's feet were frozen, Serbst was stag- 
gering. Only superhuman efforts kept these 
men going. 

The ancient walls of Ehrenbreitstein had 
seen Americans before. In 1918 occupation 
troops had swarmed over these same ram- 
parts and the Germans v/tre a friendly peo- 
ple. But in 1944 this had changed. The at- 
mosphere was charged with resentment and 
when another air-raid sounded, the Germans 
went to their shelters and the Americans 
stayed outside, 

"It's New Year's Eve, boy. These are 
the best fireworks I have seen since I left 
the States," said Galvin. 

The march continued into the night. It 
did not end until the guards themselves were 
overcome with fatigue. Then, they locked 
their prisoners in a bunker* Here, the eleven 
Americans were crowded together in a space 
of twenty foot square, The slit-like windows 
allowed the frigid air to blow back and forth 
and the men would have frozen, had they 

not huddled close together. Such was New 
Year's Eve for Team No. 11. 

The next day was one of the coldest of 
the entire winter. The skies were clear and 
the sun shed its light over a landscape scin- 
tillating in its whiteness. The hills of the 
Taunus were covered with a blanket of 
snow. The road stood out in sharp relief, 
stretching away to the east as far as the 
eye could see, "I wonder where these Krauts 
are taking us," mused Tansley. "To Lim- 
burg," said Huber who had been talking to 
one of the guards. Limburg was thirty miles. 
Thirty miles of painful progress in freezing 
weather through snowbound country. It 
was a grim prospect, 

The march started early in the morning. 
Presently, the Third Auxers heard the rum- 
ble of a truck. The vehicle approached at 
breakneck speed. And, as luck would have 
it, there was an empty trailer behind the 
truck. The guard held up his hand. The 
truck stopped. The men climbed on the 

The truck driver seemed to be in a great 
hurry. He paid no heed to the slippery road, 
the many curves, the steep declivities. Faster 
and faster he went. The men in the trailer 
held on for dear life. Their vehicle bounced 
from one side of the road to the other, trav- 
eling on two wheels more than on four. 
Crazily, it scraped trees, poles, fences. Des- 
perately, the Third Auxers hung on. '*We*ve 
had it, boys, 1 ' gasped Tansley. 

The truck headed down towards the bot- 
tom of a small valley. Going more than 
fifty miles an hour, the trailer did not have 
a chance. It skidded sideways, sideswiped 
a cement abutment, broke loose from the 
truck, and landed upside down in the ditch- 
In this accident that could easily have killed 
every occupant, only one man was seriously 
injured and that was the German guard! 
He smashed his leg. The others landed in 


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soft snow and came off with nothing worse 
than cuts and bruises. 

The truck driver summoned aid. The 
Third Auxers fashioned a crude splint for 
the casualty and carried him to a nearby 
farmhouse. Then chey continued on their 
journey. Footsore as they were* they still 
preferred walking to riding. That night 
they reached Montebaur, The guards moved 
their prisoners into a youth hostel. The 
house mother took pity on the starved Amer- 
icans and gave them their first hot meal in 
three days. The meal was a watered-down 
version of mulligan stew but it tasted like 
the juiciest steak. The Third Auxers relaxed. 
This was more comfort than they had had 
since they left Wiltz. 

On the next day, 2 January, the Amer- 
icans reached Limburg, site of the notorious 
Stalag XII A. Misery, want, and disease 
stalked the prison population. The men slept 
in barracks of about the same size as U. S* 
Army barracks, with this difference that, 
while an American barracks houses twenty 
men the German barracks housed four hun- 
dred! Bunks were stacked in tiers. Nobody 
ever took his clothes off and nobody ever 
took a bath. Sanitary facilities consisted of 
one wash basin and one latrine for four hun- 
dred men. Rations were shaved down to a 
bowl of soup a day. Besides this, each group 
of six men received a loaf of bread. The 
loaves were all the same size. And yet, the 
man who brought back a loaf that was only 
a fraction of an inch undersize was casti- 
gated as if he had committed a major crime. 
The wooden soup bowls were never washed. 
Dysentery, typhus, and tuberculosis were 

Shortly after their arrival, the Third 
Auxers were separated. Tansley went to 
work in the camp hospital This hospital 
was a disgrace. When Tansley arrived, there 
were almost three hundred American casual- 
ties, mostly from the Battle of the Bulge 
but also from the frequent air-raids. With 

two other medical officers, Tansley had to 
look after the ills and wounds of men who 
had been neglected for months. Every 
wound was infected* every illness compli- 
cated. On the first day, Tansley changed 
the bandages so enthusiastically that he used 
up a week's supply. Then he made a rule: 
only when the pus was dripping through 
the bandages did the wound get dressed. 
Ambrose Pare did better in the 15th cen- 

On 13 January, Serbst and Galvin were 
sitting disconsolately on their bunks when 
there was a commotion outside, 

"Looks like another bunch of Krieges," 
said Serbst, munching a piece of stale bread. 
His chief interest was now centered on food. 

"Maybe there is somebody we know in 
there/ 1 said Galvin and he looked inquiring- 
ly at the handful of pitiful prisoners who 
had lined up outside. 

r *I think they're coming in here. You 
indoctrinate them, Gene." 

"You mean I have to show them how to 
cut a loaf of bread into six pieces? Hell . . . 
they'll learn that quickly enough." 

The new prisoners were coming in. Serbst 
lifted a weary eye. The usual motley crew. 
Hungry men. Ragged men. Dejected men. 
Then., Serbst saw something that made his 
eyes pop. A big smile parted his lips. He 
jumped to his feet. 

"Harry Fisher! Why , . , we thought 
that the Germans had shot you!" 

"Hell no! I fought the battle of Bas- 

"Well, give us the dope." 

"You remember how the Krauts picked 
me out of the line at Wiltz? They took me 
to the motor pool and asked me if I knew 
how to drive an ambulance. I said that I was 
a medical officer but the Feldwebel made a 
threatening gesture and I knew damn well 
that old Harry didn't have a chance. We 


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started for the front right away. I had one 
German orderly with me. When we got to 
the bottom of the hill, we hitched up with a 
Verbandplatz detachment of the Panzer 
Lehr Division, It was a regular convoy. I 
turned the heater up and was just beginning 
to enjoy myself when bang! a shell hit 
directly in front of me. Blew out my rad- 
iator. The truck ahead of me was demol- 
ished. Dead Krauts everywhere. It didn't 
stop them, though, We switched to a Ger- 
man ambulance and away we went. 

We drove several more miles till we got 
to Bras, not very far from Bastogne. There 
was a heavy battle going on at Wardin. The 
Krauts decided that they wanted a first-aid 
station at Bras. That was about noon. We 
picked the only undamaged house in the 
place and set up. All we had was two Ger- 
man medical officers and a handful of en- 
listed men." 

Fisher had been pitched into one of the 
greatest battles of the war. It was a battle 
between hastily gathered American troops 
and a whole German Panzer Army, The de- 
fe nders of Bastogne were made up of the 
101st Airborn e, one combat command of 
the 1 Oth Armored , and the 701th Tank De^ 
st royejr battalion. The 10th Armored got 
there first. Its combat command arrived at 
four o'clock in the afternoon of 18 Decem- 
ber, The first units of the 101st arrived at 
midnight of 18 December. The tank de- 
stroyers arrived on the evening of 19 De- 

The first skirmish took place on the eve- 
ning of 18 December at Longvilly, six miles 
to the east. Here, the 1 Oth Armored fought 
off an overwhelming force of German ar- 
mor for several hours before withdrawing 
to Neffe. On the morning of 19 December, 
when Fisher became a willy-nilly member 
of Panzer Lehr, the Germans launched an 
all-out attack on Wardin, just off the Bas- 
togne-Wiltz road. They wiped out Com- 
pany I of the 201st Parachute Infantry and 

created a gap that was not plugged until 
the next day. It was this engagement that 
provided many anxious hours for Fisher in 
his first-aid post at Bras. 

"It was rugged. Bras is located on high 
ground and Wardin on low ground. When- 
ever the fog lifted, we could see German 
tanks engaging American infantry. The 
Germans had seven Tiger tanks and a whole 
battalion of armored infantry. The Amer- 
icans had just one company of infantry and 
no anti-tank weapons at all. The German 
tanks moved up, each one with a platoon 
of infantry in support. It was murder. I 
don't see how our boys took it as long as 
they did. The Krauts shot up every house 
in the village and every basement too. By 
nightfall, there wasn't a wall standing. Then, 
the wounded started coming in. 

The first one was a paratrooper who had 
been shot in the abdomen. He told me that 
the attack had come as a complete surprise. 
The German armor was upon them before 
they coufd even ask for artillery support. 
Fog swirled in and out. Long-range firing 
was out of the question. The first thing this 
fellow saw was a Tiger tank and a bunch of 
Krauts, and all he had was a machine gun! 
He could have held his fire and retreated to 
the basement. Not him. He blazed away 
with all he had. He wiped the Krauts out 
in about thirty seconds. Then the Tiger 
swung around and let him have it. Can you 
imagine getting hit with an 88 at fifty 
yards? That fellow had what it takes. He 
lived twelve hours. 

Company I was practically destroyed, 
There were over a hundred casualties that 
1 saw myself. There were many more that 
I never saw at all. Til never forget that 
night. I was trying to take care of a hun- 
dred casualties in one of those two-by-four 
Belgian basements. Most of the casualties 
had to stay outside in the rain. American 
shells started coming at us and we decided 


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to get out as quickly as we could. We left 
most of the casualties behind. 

The next day, 20 December, we moved to 
Wardin. This was a couple of miles closer 
to Bastogne. I could see the town plainly 
and it looked like open country to mc. But, 
instead of moving along the main road, the 
Krauts advanced on Marvie. From Marvie 
to Bastogne is only a little over a mile. I 
guess they figured that they had us if they 
could take Marvie. 

We arrived towards noon and set up in 
the usual location: a bombed-out basement. 
That's all that was left of Wardin. Just 
basements. I could see four Tiger tanks 
and six half-tracks closing in on Marvie. 
The answering fire didn't seem to hurt them 
in the least. Later I heard that we only had 
a couple of light tanks there. They tried 
to get out but were shot up tn the process. 

Then, something happened. The Tigers 
were beginning to get into trouble. Two of 
them were hit in a matter of seconds. The 

fire came from the north. The third tank 
made a dash for the village and ran smack 
into a bazooka man who finished it in short 
order. The fourth one turned chicken and 
ran off. Meanwhile the half-tracks had 
reached Marvie and deposited the infantry. 
They slugged it out with our boys for a full 
two hours. The half-tracks cruised up and 
down but the fighting was done indoors. 
You could only guess at it. 

Later in the afternoon, the Germans put 
smoke on Marvie. After that, nobody knew 
who was where. Night closed in. That was 
when the snow began. A wounded man 
didn't have a chance. They either bled to 
death or froze to death. I saw one man who 
had been firing a .machine gun at the Ger- 
mans. A Kraut crawled up and heaved a 
grenade at him. You know what those Ger- 
man grenades do. Well, this fellow lay next 
to his machine gun all night, literally splat- 
tered with lead. Then the Germans brought 
him in. I counted over a hundred separate 


when the 5 now began. 

j o 



wounds. The poor fellow was so cold, he 
couldn't move a muscle. He couldn't even 
talk. All he could do was nod his head. He 
died in a couple of hours. What a miserable 
way to die/' 

To Fisher, the battle for Marvie seemed 
a debacle but to the Germans it was a major 
setback, Marvie remained in American 
hands, even though German half-tracks 
ranged the streets. The Germans could not 
enter Bastogne and kept on pushing around 
it. On 20 December they cut the road to 
Neulchateau and completed the encircle^ 
ment of Bastogne. On 21 December, there 
were several engagements west of the town 
but these lacked the strength and persistence 
of the previous two days. On 22 December, 
the Germans delivered their ultimatum. 
"Nuts," said General McAuIifle. 

On 23 December, a fleet of C-47 1 s dropped 
supplies and reinforcements to the defend- 
ers. The drop-zone was just west of the 
town. Fisher in his post at Wardin could 
see the whole spectacle. 

"All through the day, we could see the 
flights. It was the most thrilling thing I 
have ever seen. Late in the afternoon, gun- 
fire started up again. The poor fellows at 
Marvie were taking it on the chin. The 
Krauts had put snowsuits on and they 
sneaked up on Marvie behind their tanks. 
At one point, they flushed an American half- 
track out of the woods just south of Marvie. 
I saw the driver hightailing it for the village. 
The Americans in Marvie thought he was 
German and let him have it. That was the 
end of him. His vehicle blocked the road 
all the rest of the night and kept the German 

C-47't drop supplies to tht defenders of Baitegne. 


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tanks away. The next thing 1 saw was an 
old-fashjoned whoop-and-holler attack by 
the Germans. I could hear them yelk Their 
flares lighted the entire area, A hayloft was 
hit and started to burn. The bright light 
of the flames against the background of 
snow was fantastic. It beat any show I ever 
saw. But I was too damned cold to be 

That fire killed the German chances. It 
showed them up as plain as the nose on your 
face and the Americans picked them off one 
by one. At eight o'clock, two American 
tanks moved into Marvie from the north. 
They raised plenty of hell. Gradually, the 
fire died down. Then, they started bringing 
us casualties. One of them was a Lieutenant 
Morrison who had been shot in the chest. 
He told me that Marvie was being defended 
by the 327th Glider Infantry and that they 
were giving the Heinies a hell of a time. I 
did what I could for Morrison and evacuated 
him. We sent all our wounded as quickly as 
possible to the Hauptverbandplatz at Wiltz, 
I don't know what became of Morrison," 

"I remember him," said Serbt. "He got 
along al! right." 

The night attack of 23 December carried 
the Germans past Marvie. Two of their 
tanks actually entered Bastogne. They were 
quickly knocked out however and the Ger- 
mans were never again able to exploit their 
advantage. All through the siege, they made 
the same mistake of putting pressure on a 
limited front only. By the time they had 
created a break-through, the 101st was wait- 
ing for them with reinforcements. 

"The next day, 24 December, six P-47's 
came over and bombed the hell out of Mar- 
vie," Fisher continued. "They also attacked 
our positions at Wardin. Brother, I never 
want any part of that again, Fortunately, 
the 4th Armored was coming up from the 
south by now. The 4th Armored had licked 
the Krauts at Avranches and the Krauts 

knew it. But the worst thing for the Krauts 
was the artillery fire from Bastogne. They 
never knew where they would be hit next. 
On Christmas Day we pulled out and moved 
to Oberwampach. No blood, no plasma, no 
instruments, no decent bandages. And a 
steady stream of casualties, It was killing. 
I never worked so hard in my life. 

Oberwampach was a one-day stand. The 
Krauts folded just as quickly as they had 
rushed in. Our next stop was Hose he id. 
That was a big jump to the rear and we 
knew darn well that the Germans were get- 
ting kicked in the teeth. At Hoscheid we 
set up in the village inn. The conditions were 
dreadful but I was so tired that it made little 
difference to me. I hadn't slept for days. 
The hardest thing was seeing our boys die 
without being able to do more than pat them 
on the back. 

On Christmas Day, the Americans drew 
a bead on us. Shells came in from all direc- 
tions. The first ones landed just outside 
the village. Then they got the range and the 
whole place began to disintegrate. One shell 
blew in the front door. That was enough 
for the Krauts. They got out of there in a 
hurry. All the time I kept hoping that we 
would get some protection from our Red 
Cross but the signs were so small that nobody 
could see them. We, got out of Hoscheid 
late that night. Christmas night. _ 

We traveled all night and covered five 
miles. Then we set up in a church near^/^ 
Vianden. This wa s the day the 4th Armorej *> 
got through to Bastogne. I heard about it 
from our own boys but the Germans would- 
n't admit it, I never saw such overbearing 

On 1 January, Patron's tanks were catch- 
ing up with us again. We got out of Vian- 
den and moved to Bitburg. Here we set up 
in a school and I saw at least a hundred 
American casualties. Wasn't able to do much 
for them though. The next day, a flight of 



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B-26's came over. Six bombs landed near 
our hospital. When we picked ourselves up, 
we counted eight dead and twenty-five 
wounded. There was a kid from the 101st 
Airborne with a cast on his leg. He was 
blown forty feet and did not have a scratch! 
Bitburg became uninhabitable overnight. 
We packed up and moved to Kochem on 
the Moselle. There we got on a train and 
went to Winningen." 

"Winningen?" interrupted Serbst, "I 
know that place. Perish the memory,'* 

"They put me to work in a hospital there. 
Even gave me some soup. But how can you 
work in a place that is bombed every day? 
They put me on a truck and shipped me 
here. Now what has gone on with you?" 

"We have had a rugged time, thank you." 
And Serbst told Fisher the whole dreary 
business, ending with "And as far as this 
camp is concerned, it is worse than the Black 
Hole of Calcutta. Look around. Did you 
ever see a bunch of sad sacks like this?" 

Fisher had to admit that Limburg was 
disgraceful. In a way, he was lucky because 
he was the last member of the team to ar- 
rive there and the first to leave. On 20 
January he was marched with hundreds of 
others to a railroad siding. The train was 
made up of box cars and each car was divid- 
ed into three compartments with chicken 
wire. During the First War, Americans had 
marveled at the French who packed forty 
soldiers and eight horses into their box cars. 
But the Germans went them one better. 
They jammed seventy-five prisoners into 
each car, slammed the door shut, and drew 
a bolt across. There was no room to sit. The 
air was foul. The close confinement was 
maddening. A prisoner in Fisher's compart- 
ment went berserk and had to be restrained. 
Everybody was desperate. 

Suddenly, the air-raid sirens sounded an 
alarm. The German guards ran without 
bothering to unlock the doors. A standing 

train is a juicy target for any bomber. The 
men knew the fate that awaited them. Ex- 
plosions started in various parts of the yard. 
Fisher was sure that his end had come. 

At the last moment, somebody unbolted 
the door. Frantically, the men squeezed 
through. Fisher jumped and started run- 
ning. He did not look where he was going. 
He just ran* A gigantic crater loomed ahead 
of him. He lost his footing and rolled 
towards the bottom of the pit, A terrific 
explosion rent the air and a piece of sheet 
metal was bJown across the crater in such a 
way as to form a perfect roof for itf Fisher 
was stunned. He examined himself. Not a 
scratch! Third Aux luck held out. 

In that holocaust forty men were killed 
and many more were injured. Fisher worked 
over his comrades till he dropped in his 
tracks. Eventually, ambulances and trucks 
arrived and the wounded were taken to 
the camp hospital. Here, Tansley and Fisher 
joined efforts, crushed by the thought that 
American bombs were killing American 

During the night the Germans brought 
up fresh cars and in the morning the loading 
started over again. Fisher seethed when the 
guards again bolted the doors but there was 
nothing he could do. This time, there were 
no bombs. Just endless hours of harrowing 
confinement in the locked cars. The hours 
grew to days and the prisoners lived on bread 
and water. The only sanitary facility was a 
one-gallon bucket which added its effusions 
to the general pollution. Bitter cold, starva- 
tion rations, cramped posit ions, gnawing 
fear* noisome air, these were the mental and 
physical hazards besetting the prisoners on 
their journey. When it was time to detrain, 
many men were too weak to walk. 

At Hammelburg Fisher was joined by 
Serbst and Galvin. Sensenbach came later, 
On 13 March still another Third Auxer 
showed up: Dworkin. 


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Thus, the Hammelburg camp became a 
gathering point. Even as liberation was just 
around the corner, two more Third Auxers 
appeared on the scene. These were George 
Broerman and Louis Turi. They had been 
separated from the officers, stripped of their 
possessions, and marched to Hammelburg. 
Broerman almost died of pneumonia on 
this march. 

The abortive liberation of Hammelburg 
by Task Force Baum is a saga of the 4th 
Armored Division, On 26 March, this divi- 
sion was camped south of Frankfurt. Ham- 
melburg was sixty miles away. General Pat- 
ton thought that a small task force could 
beat a path across this territory, seize the 
camp, and bring the prisoners back. Al- 
though he never admitted it, he was prob- 
ably moved by his desire to free his son-in- 
law, Lieutenant Colonel Waters, who had 
been captured in Tunisia two years earlier. 
The order was issued on 26 March. 

Captain Baum was in charge. His force 

was long on speed but short on strength. It 
consisted of 10 medium tanks, 6 light tanks, 
J assault guns (105 mm), 27 half-tracks, 
and 6 jeeps, a total of 42 vehicles and 293 
men. They jumped off from Schweinheim 
at half past one in the morning of 27 March. 
The town had been softened up by a prepa- 
ratory artillery barrage, but not enough to 
allow clear passage. There was a fierce fight 
tn the streets of the town and one of Ba urn's 
medium tanks came to grief. It was but a 
taste of things to come. 

Baum piloted his party with skill. Light 
tanks ahead, mediums in the center, half* 
tracks in the rear. The route lay along the 
line Aschaftenburg-Lohr-Gemunden. At 
first the Germans were puzzled. In the dark- 
ness they could do little more than level an 
occasional rifle shot at the marauders. Grad- 
ually however they began to realize that they 
were dealing not with the redoubtable 4th 
Armored but with a task force of modest 
proportions. Here and there, anti-tank units 

An American tank crathci lb* gaU at Hammtlburg. Men in rh* background! are Serb*. 

3 i_ 


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began to harass the Americans, Baum pushed 

At Gemunden the bridge was out, The 
tanks turned north, picking up a German 
general on the way. At Burgsinn they found 
a bridge and crossed. On the far side, Ger- 
man tanks laid down interdictory fire. The 
task force began to suffer losses in materiel 
as well as in personnel. The only hope lay 
in speed. Baum called his men together. 
"Hammelburg is fifteen miles away," he 
said, "Drive like hell. Keep maneuvering. 
Use natural cover. Keep them guessing/* 

The Germans had prepared an ambush at 
Pfaffenhausen. A sharp fight ensued and 
Baum lost many of his half-tracks as well 
as several light tanks. The only way to get 
to Hammelburg was to strike out cross- 
country. Charging through woods and pas- 
tures, the force out-smarted the Germans 
and caught sight of its objective at half past 
four in the afternoon. Hammelburg was 
guarded by a battalion of German infantry. 
Baum's job was to subdue the garrison, lib- 
erate the prisoners, and beat a retreat before 
the Germans could bring up their tanks. 
The odds were against him. 

The medium tanks and assault guns laid 
a covering fire; the light tanks and half- 
tracks with following infantry advanced on 
the camp. German counter-fire knocked out 
five of the half-tracks but the lOS's over- 
powered the opposition and when the tanks 
arrived at the camp gates, they found the 
Germans on the run. 

Third Auxers had their first inkling of 
what was going on when the shelling start- 
ed. Most of the shells landed in the Serbian 
sector of the camp. One of the Serbs made 
his way to the American sector to explain 
that the Serbs had suffered casualties and 
to find out if the Americans could estab- 
lish contact with the attackers. Colonel 
Waters volunteered. He improvised a white 
flag from a bed sheet and started for the 

main gate. A German guard shot him in 
cold blood and Colonel Waters collapsed 
with a serious wound of the groin. He was 
carried back to the barracks. 

A short time later, American tanks poked 
their noses through the gate. Pandemonium 
broke loose. The prisoners poured out, sur- 
rounded the tanks, shouted their joy, and 
shook hands with their liberators. It was a 
moment of unbounded enthusiasm. Then 
came the disillusionment. The prisoners 
learned that this was only a small task force. 
Fifteen hundred of them had to ride on the 
few available vehicles! Baum was appalled 
at the prospect. It was manifestly impossible 
to accommodate everybody. 

Serbst and a few others found room in 
the jeeps and half-tracks. Some climbed on 
the tank turrets. But the vast majority had 
to walk. Everybody grabbed his belongings 
and streamed for the exits. Within fifteen 
minutes, the entire prison population had 
vanished in the rapidly gathering darkness. 
It was the quickest mass-evacuation of the 

That evening, German radio announcers 
talked gleefully of the tremendous losses 
suffered by the Americans in the tank at- 
tack on Hammelburg. The announcers were 
right. Baum's force had been cut to half 
its original size, even before it entered Ham- 
melburg, Soon, it was to be dissipated alto- 
gether. The Germans concentrated an en- 
tire armored division outside the camp gates. 
The jig was up. 

Baum decided to make his break in a 
northerly direction. He sent one of his light 
tanks as an advance patrol. This was fol- 
lowed by a half-track and then by a jeep 
Carrying Colonel Goode and Serbst. Goode 
was the senior American officer in the camp. 
There was a distance of several hundred 
yards between the scout-tank and the jeep. 
Almost immediately, the tank was hit by 
a Panzer Faust. The explosion killed many 


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of the prisoners on the tank turret and the 
entire column was thrown into confusion. 
Small-arms fire raked the road, Serbst went 
forward to see what he could do. When he 
came to the tank, he found dead and dying 
everywhere. One man was bleeding severely 
from a deep wound of the arm. Serbst took 
the man's belt and made an emergency tour- 
niquet. Then he turned to the others. He 
had his hands full. 

Meanwhile, Baum made an about-face 
with his remaining vehicles. In the resulting 
withdrawal, Serbst lost all contact with 
Task Force Baum, In fact, he suddenly was 
entirely by himself. As he was debating 
what to do, two other Americans stumbled 
across his path. They were Major Saunders 
of the 9th Armored and Major Fischer of 
the I06th. The three men made an estimate 
of the situation. Obviously, their escape 
lay to the west. But where was west? Serbst 
looked up. Quickly, he oriented himself. 
Task Force Serbst set out. The star class at 
Fort Sam was paying off. 

In the early morning, the three men came 
upon the remainder of Baum's tanks. They 
had drawn up in a woods, hoping to evade 
the withering fire of the German anti-tank 
weapons. Of the original 293 men in the 
task force, less than a hundred were left. 
Baum could see that he did not have a 
chance. His mission now was to save as 
many of his men as possible, With a fine 
eye for the drama of the moment* he ad- 
dressed his decimated contingent: "Officers, 
non-coms, and men! We have come to the 
end of the road. Every man is on his own. 
As nearly as I can tell you, our lines are still 
at Aschaffenburg. Disable your tanks and 
try to find your way back. Good luck, The 
4th Armored is proud of you." 

Thus came the end for Task Force Baum, 
The men scattered and were rounded up 
later in the day by the heavily-armed Ger- 
man search parties. Baum himself was 
wounded. Of the entire task force and 

prison population, only a handful made good 
their escape. Serbst was among them, The 
rest were apprehended and taken back to 
Hammelburg, Serbst's break for freedom 
is a saga of its own. 

For thirty-six hours, the three men hid 
in the woods. There were too many Ger- 
mans to risk a getaway. Moreover, the 
searchers were jittery and shot at everything 
that looked only faintly suspicious. After 
the firing subsided somewhat, the Americans 
struck out. They marched at night and hid 
during the day. They avoided the roads 
and fled to the woods at the slightest sign 
of trouble. 

The nights were the worst. The weather 
was miserably cold and the men had only 
their tattered combat jackets and threadbare 
trousers. Often, they would have to make 
long detours to stay away from farms and 
villages. They forded several small streams 
and stole a rowboat to cross the river Sinn, 
They went without food for three days. On . 
the fourth day they became so hungry that 
they devoured a stack of raw potatoes. The 
next day, they did the same thing with a 
stack of raw beets and became violently ill 
as a result. And all the time, Serbst was 
navigating by the stars. 

On 4 Aprils after they had marched for 
eight days, the men were so desperate that 
they decided to enter a village. It was broad 
daylight but nobody paid any attention to 
the three beggars. **What is this, anyway?" 
complained Serbst. "Do we look that bad?" 
Finally, a farmer approached the trio. 



"Kommen Sie herein.** 

The farmer called to his wife and led the 
Americans into the parlor. Presently, the 
wife brought hot soup, fried potatoes, and 
liverwurst. It tasted like manna to the 


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starved men. The farmer offered them a 
place in his barn, provided they would keep 
under cover. "We still have plenry of SS 
men around here," he warned. The footsore 
men stretched out for their first real rest in 
a week. 

On 6 April an American patrol ap- 
proached: two jeeps and a half-track. Serbst 
could hardly contain himself* He ran to the 
middle of the road, waved his arms like mad, 
and shouted at the top of his voice. Within 
a minute, he was talking to a captain of 
the 14th Armored Division. The three men 
jumped on the jeep and raced back to the 
Division Command Post at Gemunden. 
From there they were taken to the 27th 
Evacuation Hospital in AscharTenburg 
where they had their first bath in months. 

When Serbst looked at himself in a mir- 
ror, he could hardly believe his eyes. Who 
was this gaunt looking man? Hollow eyes, 
scraggly beard, scrawny neck, flabby arms, 
sagging stomach f It wasn't even a reason- 
able facsimile, Serbst smiled wanly. "Look 
here* fellow," he said to his image, "There 
isn't a thing wrong with you that a little 
good food won't fix up." He was right. 
When he arrived in New York a few weeks 
later he was already well on the road to 

Serbst is a Third Aux legend. He was the 
premier front line surgeon. Wherever his 
comrades gather, they drink a toast to the 
man who blazed a trail on Omaha, stood by 
his guns at Wiltz, and defied the Germans 
at Hammelburg, 

Of the Third Auxers who were recap- 
tured at Hammelburg, only Galvin stayed 
until the final liberation on 6 April, He was 
flown to Bad Orb on the same day and ar- 
rived home before any of the others. He 
too has much to be proud of. 

The other Third Auxers were evacuated 
from Hammelburg a few days before the 
Americans arrived. Those who were unable 

to walk were loaded on a train. Fisher be- 
came train surgeon and Sensenbach his as- 
sistant. Their adventures have already been 

The only member of Team No. 1 1 who 
missed Hammelburg was Tansley. At the 
time the other Third Auxers left Limburg, 
Tansley volunteered for duty at a hospital 
for prisoners of war in Heppenheim. When 
he boarded his train late in January, three 
P-47's descended out of the sky. He dashed 
for cover. It was too late. Flying fragments 
cut his face and caused a painful eye injury. 
A less conscientious man would have given 
up. Not Tansley. Something told him that 
he was needed at Heppenheim, The next 
day he started again. 

Heppenheim was located on the Berg- 
strasze, halfway between Frankfurt and 
Karlsruhe. It had a large, permanent hos- 
pital that had been built for disabled soldiers 
at the end of the Franco-Prussian War, At 
the time of Tansley's arrival this building 
was jammed with Allied war casualties. 
There were about three hundred Americans 
and an equal number of French, Russians, 
Serbs, Czechs, Greeks, and Slovaks. Of these, 
the French had fared best. They were looked 
after by four French medical officers. The 
Russians had a Slovak doctor. The wounded 
from the Balkan countries also had a doctor. 
But the Americans had none and their con- 
dition certainly showed it, 

Tansley arrived at Heppenheim at the 
same time as a Captain Lee who had been 
captured in Normandy, Together they 
went on an inspection. They started with 
the first ward but they never finished it be- 
cause what they saw was something that 
passed out of existence a hundred years ago: 
uncontrolled wound sepsis. These casualties 
had never had any medical attention what- 
soever. They had simply been picked up on 
the battlefield and deposited at the hospital. 


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That was all. Ordinary injuries that would 
have healed quickly with a simple debride- 
ment had produced deep infections that 
killed flesh, destroyed bone, and sapped vital- 
ity. Festering sores, massive sloughs^ exten- 
sive suppurations, all the dreadful compli- 
cations of the pre-Lister era presented them- 
selves to the incredulous Americans. Pus was 
everywhere. It oozed through the paper 
bandages, soaked through the mattresses, and 
dripped on the floor, "Laudable pus" the 
medieval surgeons called it, But in the twen- 
tieth century there was nothing laudable 
about it. As an object lesson in the ravages 
of infection, these wounds were unique but 
as an example of unnecessary human suffer- 
ing, they were shocking, Tansley and Lee 
wiped their brows. They did not even know 
where to start, 

They made up a schedule. The wards had 
no light. The operating room did. The men 
decided to work on the wards by day and 
in the operating room by night. Surgical 
instruments were plentiful. Tansley pressed 
a French medical officer into service as an- 
esthetist, Lee assisted. Tansley operated. Of 
the three, Lee was the busiest. He had to 
run the sterilizers, prepare the instruments, 
steady the patients, and ease their dying 
moments. Later, some of these chores were 
taken over by the less seriously wounded. 
But at first, Tansley and Lee had to do 
everything, from mopping the floor to bury- 
ing the dead. 

In his two months at Heppenheim, Tans- 
ley did over three hundred amputations. 
Many of these were double, some tripie, and 
two quadruple. The death rate was appall- 
ing. But Tansley could not waver. The 
dead were dead. The living might yet be 

Not a day went by without its funerals. 
The ceremonies were conducted by a French 
priest who always spoke with touching fer- 
vor about "nos amis, les braves Americains." 

Tansley attended several of these services. 
Always, the priest would find new words to 
express his country's debt to these heroes. At 
the end of the sermon, a friend of the de- 
parted would come forward to place the 
first shovelful of dirt on the coffin. Then 
the burial detail took over. Carefully they 
lifted the body out of the coffin, placed it 
in the grave, and proceeded with the burial 
Heppenheim had only one coffin! 

The hospital was commanded by a Ger- 
man Oberst, a Nazi tyrant of the worst sort. 
He never came near the Americans but he 
saw to it that their rations were at the star- 
vation level. He even expropriated the Red 
Cross packages. Consequently, the Amer- 
icans could not barter for food. Day by day 
the situation grew more desperate. During 
the final weeks, the diet consisted of bread 
and water. Every prisoner suffered from 
hunger edema. Tansley ran a series of blood 
counts. There wasn't a man with a hemo- 
globin of over fifty per cent. 

And so the days dragged on. Reports fil- 
tered through that First Army had crossed 
the Rhine at Remagen and that Third 
Army had reached the river at Qppenheim. 
Opposite Heppenheim, Seventh Army drew 
up. Liberation was at hand. 

On the day before the Americans crossed, 
the Oberst sent word that all the wounded 
were to be marched out! Tansley was 
furious. His patients could barely stand, let 
alone walk. But he had to be diplomatic. 
It was useless to tell the Oberst that an 
evacuation was tantamount to mass slaugh- 
ter. Something more subtle was needed. 
Tansley sent a message back that his patients 
could not march out because they no longer 
had any clothes. Then he ordered every man 
to hide his clothes. When the Oberst stormed 
in to check on Tansley's statement, there 
wasn't so much as a sock to be found any- 
where. The patients kept a straight face. 
Tansley snickered. The Oberst was livid. 


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Patton's tanks crossed the Rhine on 24 
March. They turned north towards Frank- 
furt but their proximity put the fear of 
God into the Oberst. He vanished and with 
him went the entire German garrison. All 
the prisoners now turned to Tansley. It was 
the most unspectacular surrender of the war. 
Not a shot was fired. 

The first thing Tansley did was to inspect 
the building. What he saw made his blood 
boil. The Germans had secreted away enough 
food to feed all Heppenheim for six months! 
They had starved their prisoners and feasted 
themselves. No wonder the Oberst had fled. 
With such evidence he would have been 

A German civilian came to see Tansley. 
It was Dr, Koenig, the leader of the local 
underground. Dr. Koenig was a furtive little 
man with shifting eyes and threadbare 
clothes. Speaking rapidly as if he were afraid 
to be caught, he told Tansley that the pop- 
ulation of Heppenheim was ready to sur- 
render and that the local Wehrmacht would 
lay down its arms, if Tansley gave the order. 
Only a small garrison of die-hard SS men 
remained to be persuaded and Dr. Koenig 
was sure that they would follow suit if Tans- 
ley could establish contact with American 
troops. This should not be difficult because 
the Americans had been reported at Ben- 
sheim, just three miles to the north. Dr. 
Koenig offered himself as a guide. 

The request sounded logical and Tansley 
agreed. The two men walked through the 
main street without eliciting anything more 
than cursory attention. They went to a 
garage. Dr. Koenig seated himself at the 
wheel and motioned for Tansley to sit next 
to him. They drove off. 

Outside the town, the road was deserted. 
Only a distant rumble betrayed the fact that 
a battle was going on. Koenig drove rapidly. 
Suddenly a road-block appeared. It was 
manned by SS men who seemed to recognize 

Koenig. They dragged him out of the car 
and started questioning him. Although 
Tansley could not understand a word of 
what was said, he did not like the tone of 
the conversation and he began to reflect un- 
easily on his own strange role as mediator 
in this conflict. Dr. Koenig talked more 
and more volubly. The SS men became more 
and more threatening. Presently, Tansley 
too was dragged from the car. An SS man 
searched the vehicle. He found a white flag! 
That completed the evidence. The SS men 
had caught a traitor and a traitor's accom- 
plice. They prepared for an execution on 
the spot. 

Tansley felt sick. Was he to lose his life 
here at the hands of a bunch of fanatics? 
Would his body be tossed to the side of the 
road to be trampled and mutilated by en- 
raged SS men? Would his widow ever know 
what happened to him? Would she even 
collect his insurance? These were the 
thoughts that passed through his head while 
a firing squad came forward. 

A German jeep rounded the corner. It 
carried the commanding officer of the local 
Wehrmacht. The Wehrmacht man recog- 
nized Koenig and immediately guessed what 
was going on. A roadside execution involv- 
ing an American would go hard with him 
when the town had to be surrendered. 
Koenig had not lied when he said that the 
Wehrmacht had no stomach for further 
fighting. The Wehrmacht man and the 
leader of the SS men entered into an argu- 
ment. Terrified, Tansley listened. Who 
would prevail? On this depended Tansley 's 

It was a draw. The SS man insisted on 
Koenig's execution but agreed to set Tansley 
free. The German was blindfolded and 
placed against a tree, A firing squad came 
forward. Their shots ran out. Koenig 
slumped. The SS men didn*t even bother 
to cut his body down. 


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Tansley returned to Heppenheim, shaking 
like a leaf. He had crawled through the eye 
of a needle. 

The next day, 26 March, the Oberst and 
his entire staff returned to Heppenheim. 
Their flight had ended at Heidelberg. They 
had been severely reprimanded and ordered 
back to the hospita!. The Oberst surrendered 
his sword to Tansley, It was a moment of 
supreme gratification. Two days later* the 
German was murdered by one of his own 
henchmen- To this day, his sword hangs in 
Tansley's living room, 

The great day came on 27 March when 
Seventh Army crossed at Worms. Heppen- 
heim was shelled and the hospital suffered 
some damage but no one was injured because 
the patients had all been taken to the base- 
ment, Tansley stationed himself at the main 
gate* At three o clock, he saw an American 
patrol. He raised his hand in a greeting and 
within a few minutes, soldiers of the 3rd 
Division were shaking hands all around. 
Later in the day, Tansley showed his wretch- 
ed patients to the Division Surgeon. This 
officer was so shocked that he ordered Tans- 
ley to report immediately to Army Head- 
quarters at Kaiserslautern. 

General Patch was aghast. When Tansley 
had finished, he called for his S-3. 

"Colonel, see that Major Tansley gets al! 
the trucks he needs to evacuate his patients 

Next, General Patch called for the Army 
Surgeon and said: 

"Colonel Rudolph, see that Major Tans- 
ley is decorated." 

Then the Genera! turned to Tansley, 

"Major, if anybody puts any obstacles in 
your way, report to me." 

The rest is history. Two ambulance com- 
panies dashed to Heppenheim, bells ringing 
and flags flying. An air strip was set up 
nearby. An evacuation hospital was moved 

to Bensheim. A fleet of C-47's moved in. 
General Patch sent his private plane to take 
Tansley to Paris. It was a triumphant end 
to a fearsome experience. 

In Paris, Tansley finally collapsed. His 
weight had dropped from 1 57 to 87 pounds. 
His left eye was causing unbearable pain. 
The nervous tension suddenly produced a 
reaction. He had to take to bed. 

Recovery was rapid. Within a few weeks, 
his headaches had disappeared, his vision had 
stabilized, and his weight was edging back. 
In May, he flew home. The Third Aux is 
proud of him. 

The Team of Major Crandall 
The last Third Aux team to come to grief 
in the Battle of the Bulge was that of Major 
Crandall. This team was with the 1 1 st Air- 
borne Division, It had landed in Normandy 
on 6 June. It had landed in Holland on 17 
September. It had gone to the Division Rest 
Area at Mourmelon early in December and 
it was still at Mourmelon when the first 
alarm was sounded. "All I know is that there 
has been a break-through up there," said 
Genera! McAuliffe to his Division staff at 
a conference on the evening of 17 Decem- 
ber. "We've got to get up there." 

To move 11,000 men requires 3 80 trucks, 
Mourmelon had no such number. SHAEF 
issued orders. The Transportation Corps got 
busy. Trucks were rushed to Mourmelon 
from points as far away as Rouen. And at 
five o'clock on the afternoon of 18 Decem- 
ber, the entire 10 1st was on the way! It was 
a triumph of logistics. 

Crandall's team still had the same compo- 
sition as in Normandy. However, one man 
was not to be in on the final show-down. At 
Montmedy, Private Musk a fell from his 
truck and broke a leg. He was sent back 
to Mourmelon. 


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It was an all-night drive, Roads leading 
to Bastogne were jammed, either with men 
who were fleeing or with men who were go- 
ing to do the fighting. On 19 December the 
situation was extremely critical. The Ger- 
mans captured Wiltz, advanced to within 
three miles of Rastogne, and had salients both 
north and south of the town. H the Division 
Surgeon had known this, he would not have 
placed the J26th Medical Company where 
he did. It seemed to Lieutenant Colonel 
David Gold that the safest possible place 
for the clearing station would be well to the 
west. So far as he knew, this was Division 
Rear All combat units were facing east 
and no Germans had yet been reported west 
of Bastogne. Therefore, he selected a site 
about eight miles out on the road to Marche. 
This was a crossroads called Herbaimont. 
The medical company arrived there on the 

evening of 19 December and set up immedi- 
ately. Being supposedly in a rear area, the 
station was entirely on its own. When dis- 
aster struck, the only armed protection con- 
sisted of a tank destroyer which arrived 
purely by accident. 

The Germans were not sitting still. They 
were probing deep under cover of darkness. 
At eleven o'clock, a strong force crossed the 
Houffalize road, ran past Bertogne, and 
caught the hapless medical company com- 
pletely by surprise, Natalie has given a 
graphic account of the events. 

"When we arrived at Herbaimont, we 

could hear gun-fire in the distance. And it 
wasn't very far away either. Those sounds 
were familiar to us. We had heard them in 

Aerial view of Hit Bastogne country. 

7 ^ 


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North Africa, in Sicily, in Normandy, in 
Holland, and now in Belgium. 

During the afternoon, the tents went up. 
Major Crandall made up a duty roster* It 
was my fortune, good or bad, not to go on 
duty that night. I dug in. I constructed a 
neat foxhole about fifty yards from the sur- 
gical tent. At nine o'clock I opened my GI 
sleeping bag and tucked in for the night 
... at least I hoped it would be for the night. 

I had just dozed off (actually it was two 
hours later) when I was aroused by a ma- 
chine gun barrage. Bullets were flying every- 
where. They passed right over my head. 
Man is by nature curious and 1 am human. 
I wanted to know what was going on. I 
raised my head and peered out over the edge 
of my foxhole. That was enough for me. 
I could see that the Germans were still play- 
ing for keeps. 

In a few minutes, our area was lit 
up like day. The light was coming from 
our own vehicles that had been set afire by 
tracer bullets. As soon as the firing subsided, 
I crawled out of my foxhole and towards 
the surgical tent. I peered in. Everyone 
was prone as if lifeless. No one said a word. 
It looked like a morgue. And yet, I wasn't 
scared. I was too busy to be scared. It wasn't 
unti! an hour later that I got scared. To be 
scared you have to think. I wasn't thinking. 
I just looked. Some of the men were quaking 
with fear. Some sobbed quietly. Some 
moaned. Some lay still, I'll never forget 
that sight. 

I crawled over to Major Crandall. 

'Major, this looks bad. Can you figure 
it out?' 

'Wish I could. It looks like Germany for 
us/ he said. 

Major Crandall was a fearless man. He 
was a big man. He always knew how to con- 
duct himself, no matter what the situation. 
Just to be near him gave you a feeling of 

'Well, I guess the war is over for us.* I 
was going to eat those words. 

By this time, the Germans were all over 
the area. They hollered, laughed, and made 
noise, just as Germans always do. It was 
bedlam. And to think that only a few min- 
utes earlier, this same place was a peaceful 
meadow somewhere in the Ardennes. 

As soon as we went outside, we could see 
the Germans. They were Panzer Grenadiers, 
the much-feared, hard-hitting tank men of 
Hitler's legions. The Fuehrer had saved them 
for this final plunge against the Allies. The 
officer in command was a typical Prussian. 
He was wearing well-polished, high, black 
boots and his uniform looked as if he had 
just come back from a Berlin pass. In his 
right eye was a monocle. I don't know why 
I remember all the details. I suppose it was 
because he was such a contrast with the ordi- 
nary fighting man. War is dirty. No one 
expects a Beau Brumme! on the battlefield. 

The commanding officer of the medical 
company surrendered to this German officer. 
There was no alternative. The Germans gave 
us thirty minutes to get on the trucks and 
clear the area. We did it in twenty. And 
all this time, the burning trucks became rag- 
ing infernos. You could hear the cries of 
the men who had been caught inside. 

I ran over to Captain Van Gorder who 
was talking German to the Nazi officer. Cap- 
tain Van Gorder told me to go down to the 
crossroads and see if I could get any of the 
wounded out of the trucks. A German 
soldier was to go with me. 

We ran as fast as we could. We tried to 
get near the trucks. The heat was intense. 
We looked at each other and shook our 
heads. There was nothing we could do. We 
turned back. Yes, we turned our backs on 
those wounded but their cries and pleas will 
forever remain in my memory. 

Back at the tents, we found the trucks 
all set to pull out, I clambered aboard. A 


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few minutes later, someone asked me if I 
could drive an American six-by-six. I said 
yes, although I hadn't driven one since the 
Third Aux made the trek across North Af~ 
rica. I got behind the wheel. A German sat 
next to me, machine gun and all, We began 
the long, painful journey. 

We didn't move very far that first night. 
Daylight found us in a hamlet whose name 
I don't remember. Our caravan of trucks, 
with their cargo of a hundred twenty-five 
prisoners, lined up on a little, narrow road. 
Lucky for us that the weather was dreary 
and gloomy. Otherwise we might have be- 
come the target for a dive bomber. I asked 
permission to get some water for the wound- 
ed. I saw two Catholic sisters and they 
helped me, I also gave some morphine to the 
patients in the back of the truck. Who was 
I to complain? Those casualties suffered in- 
finitely worse. 

At ten o'clock in the morning we moved 
out. We drove and stalled, drove and stalled, 
drove and stalled. It was endless. We crossed 
into Luxembourg* It was dark when we 
rolled into the next village and we had not 
had anything to eat since our capture. How 
long was this going to last? 

We were told to bed down for the night 
in an old schoolhouse. We unloaded the 
wounded and carried them into the build- 
ing. Afterwards, Sergeant Michaelson of 
the medical company said to me: Tve saved 
some K rations. Let's eat, 1 We opened the 
cartons and started munching the crackers. 
'Aren't these wonderful?' I said. It was 
the last K ration I ever had. I tried to rest a 
little but the cries of the wounded men 
haunted me. It was ghastly. 

The next morning the ground was white 
with new-fallen snow. The air was still and 
cold. It was beautiful. I was reminded of 
the snowy landscapes of my native state of 
Iowa and I wondered if I would ever see 
Iowa again. 

We left the wounded behind in this vil- 
lage. God knows what became of them. 
Then we boarded our trucks again. Just as 
we were getting under way, a young girl 
came running from a house, holding large 
slices of bread spread thick with jam. She 
was waving them in the air in a frantic effort 
to attract our attention before we pulled 
away. The trucks started rolling. The girl 
rushed towards me and practically threw the 
food at me. I caught it and shared it with 
the rest. It was wonderful. Circumstances 
determine the value of things. When you 
are hungry, you sell your soul for a hunk 
of bread. Bread! At home I never looked 
at bread. Now I treasured it. In the prison 
camps I saw men draw knives over a piece 
of bread. How weak we mortals be. 

We started the third day of our captivity* 
In the bitter cold, without sufficient protec- 
tion, we quickly burned up what little en- 
ergy remained. The Germans had taken all 
our food away. We were completely at their 
mercy. All we could think of was our 
stomachs. Food became an obsession. It 
even superseded femmes which is ordinarily 
topic No. 1 among GI's, 

On 23 December we arrived in Clerveaux. 
Here the Germans searched us t stripped us, 
and interrogated us. Here also, we were 
ordered to get out and walk. Our trucks 
were headed around to take German troops 
to the front. In Clerveaux and along the 
winding road that leads to the east, I saw 
what the Battle of the Bulge had done to 
our GI's. The ground was strewn with 
corpses. They lay just as they had fallen, 
frozen stiff in various grotesque positions. 
I tried not to look. 

The first night out of Clerveaux, we 
reached what had once been a camp for the 
German Luftwaffe. The weather was ex- 
tremely cold with lots of snow. The Ger- 
mans pushed us into the unheated buildings 
and locked the doors. There were hundreds 


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of us now (we had picked up other con- 
tingents in Clerveaux}. The buildings had 
cement floors. There was no room to lie 
down. All we could do was stand up and 
try to sleep. We were getting desperate. 

The Germans got us out at daybreak. It 
was the custom to line us up in long rows 
before each day's march. We would stand 
anywhere from one to three hours. This par- 
ticular mornings it seemed interminable. My 
feet were numb with cold and my eyes 
burned like fire. Some of the fellows col- 
lapsed. We helped them to their feet. 

Day after day we marched. We lost men 
from exhaustion, illness, lack of food, and 
accidents. We lived on berries that we found 
along the roadside and on frozen apple cores 
that were few and far between. Occasional- 
ly, we could get a farm laborer (usually a 
prisoner too) to toss us a rutabaga or sugar 
beet. When we got thirsty we ate snow. 

At night we would go into bivouac, either 
along the roadside or in barns, chicken 
houses, stables, and places like that. That is 
where we got "lousey," Many a time we 
wished that we were outside instead of in- 

Somewhere along the road we put up in 
an old warehouse on a railroad siding. It was 
here that we got our first Red Cross parcel. 
It was a British parcel and the food was 
peculiarly British, if you know what I mean. 
But at this critical stage, food was food. I 
ate the hardtack as if it were crisp toast. I 
don't remember how many men were sup- 
posed to share a box, but it was too many. 
When we were through, we were still hun- 
Soon the fellows became a stampeding 
herd of cattle: unruly, unreasoned, undis- 
ciplined. The men who smoked back home 
were the first to suffer. They became irrit- 
able, jumpy, half-crazed. Some would cry 
out for their mother, wife, or sweetheart. 
These were the ones that you would have to 

shake and slap to bring them back to their 
senses. They were completely demoralized. 
But this was no time to lose faith. Without 
faith, you were a dead duck. 

At the warehouse, our great fear was a 
bombing raid. If this little rail siding ever 
became a target for tonight, wc were done 
for. But providence was with us. The 
weather stayed cloudy. 

The Germans tried to get enough box cars 
to transport us into Germany. They did not 
succeed, no doubt because of air raids on 
their rolling stock. No cars came so we were 
put back on the road. Yes, afoot. To know 
what that meant, you must realize that the 
Germans had taken many of our paraboots. 
In exchange they would sometimes give us 
their old, black, worn-out boots. At other 
times they did not bother to make any kind 
of replacement. And yet, we welcomed the 
road after the hours we spent sleeping spoon- 
fashion in the old warehouse. At least we 
were in the fresh air. 

We marched on empty stomachs. At 
home, I used to enjoy getting hungry be- 
cause of the meal that was waiting for me. 
But here there was nothing to look forward 
to. In fact, we might never eat again. We 
learned to live with those hunger pains. 

We took a somewhat northeasterly course 
into Germany. We did not follow any roads. 
It was a cross-country hike in the strictest 
sense of the word, through dense forests, 
over rugged hills, across small streams, and 
even across fences. 

The town of Prum showed itself one 
bright, cold day at about noon. We had al- 
ready marched some twenty miles. The 
guards were getting tired and they wanted 
to put up in Prum for the night. They were 
mad as hell when word came down that we 
would continue. And we were mad too. 
But fate was with us. That night the Ninth 
Air Force practically demolished Prum. A 
fellow prisoner told me later that Prum 


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'just doesn't exist any longer.' We would 
have been in that raid, had it not been for 
some quirk of circumstance. 

On we went. The next town was Gerol- 
stein. Just an ordinary, typical, small Ger- 
man town. We got there late at night on 
Christmas Eve. We were served some kind 
of soup, It tasted terrible. Yes, it tasted 
terrible, even though we had been without 
food for several days. It must have been 
practically poison. 

But Christmas Day was the pay-off. The 
Germans came in and asked if anyone would 
like to volunteer for work. They offered a 
special ration to anyone who volunteered. 
That sounded good to me. Moreover, any- 
thing was better than that smelly jail they 
had us in. So I volunteered. Me and 59 

We lined up. Feeling ran high in Gerol- 
stein because the town had just been raided. 
In fact, some of the fires were still smolder- 
ing. The Germans began separating us into 
smaller groups. We all became suspicious. 
No one said a word, We had heard about 
the Malmedy massacre and we were sure that 

we had volunteered for one mass execution, 
It was a dismal spot. What a way to die. 

But no firing squad came forward. We 
were put to work cleaning up the town in 
groups of five and six. We worked hard, 
too. We had just finished when lo! and 
behold, another raid came along. That wiped 
out all we did plus some. The 'special ration' 
was a dry crust of black bread and some 
more of the green hornet soup. Then we 
shoved off again. 

The next town was Mayen, We marched 
through about dusk. The water mains had 
all been torn up by air raids and the women 
were carrying water for miles in buckets 
and pails. I got the impression of utter chaos. 
People were dashing hither and yon without 
rhyme or reason. It was cold, very cold this 
night. We were kept standing outside for 
several hours as per usual, while the Germans 
argued what to do next. They finally put 
us up in a cement factory, of all places. We 
got some pretty fair soup at this place. 
Funny how I remember our stopping points 
mainly according to whether we ate or not. 
The cement factory was a wicked place to 

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3 3 
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sleep but we slept anyway because we were 
exhausted. As a matter of fact, anytime we 
sat down we fell asleep. When you woke up, 
you saw a conglomeration of dirty, un- 
shaven, starving GFs that no top sergeant 
would give a nickel for. We looked like a 
bunch of ragamuffins. No mother would 
have recognized her son. 

Finally we reached a rail terminal and 
boarded a train. We were packed sixty to a 
box car. It was so crowded that you could 
hardly move. Then the Germans sealed the 
doors. They actually bolted them shut. Even 
the little windows were all boarded up. No 
daylight ever penetrated those cars. There 
was no food, no water, no latrine. We an- 
swered nature's calls where we were. And 
this lasted for days. 

I don't know how long we were in those 
box cars. We had no way of telling, Days 
and nights were all alike. We arrived in our 
first POW camp on New Year's Day, It 
was a cold, bleak morning. The day before, 
a large batch of prisoners had been kept 
standing in the bitter cold so long that many 
of them died of exposure. We could still 
see the corpses. It was horrible. This was 
the notorious Stalag IV-B at Muhlberg. 

Have you ever eaten spoiled sauerkraut 
without anything to go with it , . . cold? 
Well, this was our first meal at Stalag IV-B, 
It made most of us violently ill. Next to the 
green hornet soup, this stale sauerkraut was 
the worst thing I ever tasted. 

The Germans were deathly afraid of 
typhus and they took great pains to delouse 
us. They herded us into what I thought 
was a gas chamber. It turned out to be a 
big, improvised bathhouse. That was the first 
and last shower I ever had in Germany. After 
the bath, we all lined up for a shot in the 
arm. The fluid in the syringe was a dark, 
thick solution. Whatever it was, it carried 
a terrific wallop. My arm was sore for weeks. 

Back at Clerveaux the Germans had ques- 

tioned and searched us* They didn't do a 
very good job of it though and many of us 
had slipped through with our personal equip- 
ment intact. We thought that we had out- 
smarted the Germans. Nothing could be 
further from the truth. At Muhlberg, they 
really gave us the third degree. They literal- 
ly cleaned us out — money, rings, watches, 
fountain pens, pocket knives, anything that 
had any value. Of course, many of these 
articles had already found new owners be- 
fore we arrived at Muhlberg, I witnessed 
many an exchange of a wedding ring for a 
slice or two of bread. Nothing counted for 
much, except edibles. Hungry people do 
not deliberate. They act! 

After this shakedown, the Germans ques- 
tioned us. They made a complete record of 
every prisoner, including a picture. And 
they were more thorough than the sergeant 
at the induction station back home. There 
is an agreement between warring nations 
that each side register its POW's, The Ger- 
mans violated every agreement except that 
one, probably because it was to their own 
benefit. I bet you they could tell you to 
this day where my parents were born. 

It took all day to be processed. We fin- 
ished at ten o'clock at night. It was bitter 
cold with a fierce northwest wind blowing 
snow into big drifts. We marched through 
this snow for more than an hour and finally 
were told to enter a barracks. All the bunks 
were occupied. There was no heat, of course. 
All we could do was sleep on the floor. That 
was Stalag IV-B. 

The following day dawned clear but ex- 
tremely cold. There was nothing to do, so 
in spite of the cold, I went outside and 
walked around the huge stockade, Stalag 
IV-B was an international camp. Every 
nationality was represented. I think I met 
them all. Men from Russia, men from the 
Balkans, men from England and America, 
thirty thousand of them. Many could speak 


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English and the stories they told were in- 
credible. I ran into an old buddy who was 
captured on D Day in Normandy. He had 
just received a package from home. In the 
package were some socks, I had no socks and 
this fellow offered me his. It restored my 
faith in humanity. 

Muhlberg was our home for only one 
week. Again, the Germans sorted out the 
latest arrivals and prepared to move them 
on. We were on their list. There was always 
something intriguing about these moves* I 
never was able to diagnose it but I suppose 
it was because we figured that the next place 
could not possibly be worse. And yet, it 
always was, We traveled in the now-familiar 
box cars. Our direction continued southeast. 
The farther we got, the colder it got. I think 
we traveled for several days. 

When the German guards opened the 
doors of the box cars, we were no longer 
able to stand. Days of starvation and refrig- 
eration had made mummies out of us. We 
could neither think nor move. The Ger- 
mans wanted us to line up on the station 
platform. We did not jump out of the cars. 
We toppled out. On that ice-covered 
ground, we were as helpless as a youngster 
on his first pair of skates. We landed on top 
of one another and we did not get un- 
scrambled for a long time. Finally, order 
was restored. 

We were now in Gorlitz, in southeastern 
Germany. Stalag VIII-A was far worse than 
IV-B. There was less food, less heat, less of 
everything. The compound was huge. We 
were quartered in long wooden barracks, 
made of tar paper. Bunks were stacked three 
high. Six or seven men had to share a sec- 
tion. The boards on the bunks were narrow 
and were fully three inches apart. It would 
be difficult to make them any more uncom- 

Life ebbed on at VIII-A; for some it 
ebbed out. Prisoners died from starvation, 

from exposure, from exhaustion, from tu- 
berculosis, and from sheer hopelessness. Life 
just wasn't worth living under those cir- 

For a month we lingered* Then, on St, 
Valentine's Day, the blow came. The Rus- 
sians had been gaining ground around Bres- 
lau and Liegnitz. They were not far from 
Gorlitz, The Germans decided to evacuate 

We set out on foot, rain pelting down, 
wind whistling. When you are cold and 
starved and discouraged, rain is the last 
straw. We were at the end of our strength. 
But we knew who was the boss so we 

You ask how we were able to march? To 
an athlete, there is something known as 
second wind. At Gorlitz on St, Valentine J s 
Day we got our second wind. We struggled 
on, not as human beings but as automatons. 
The will to live waxes as physical strength 

We marched all day and all night. I don't 
know what made me do it but I got the 
crazy idea that I could fall out and hide 
myself. At Bautzen I carried out my scheme 
under cover of darkness. I slept in an alley. 
The next morning I realized that this was 
no solution. I hastened on and rejoined my 
companions. They wondered about my at- 
tempt to get away. I discouraged them from 
trying it. 

For the next five weeks we marched. 
Sometimes we would march ten kilometers, 
sometimes thirty or forty. There was no 
rhyme or reason to it. We zigzagged across 
the countryside like hunted animals. Over 
hills and dales, across ice and snow, through 
thick and thin we marched. It was an en- 
durance contest. 

We ace when we could find something to 
eat and we drank from roadside ditches, re- 
gardless of how contaminated the water 
was. A sugar beec, picked up in a hog pen, 


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was a treat. Try it sometime. Then there 
was a day when I caught a chicken, We 
killed it and carried it for two days before 
getting a chance to eat it. We finally ate 
it raw. 

February and March is the wet season in 
Germany. It either rained or froze. Towards 
the end, the sun would occasionally come 
out. Rain or shine, we marched on. 

"We suffered many casualties. Fellows 
would fall out from hunger and fatigue. 
Some would be picked up by farmers but 
the majority died- On those wind-swept 
plains, a man did not have a chance. Every 
day, the weaving column got smaller. Every 
day, the survivors got weaker. Finally, even 
the Germans could see that it was no use 
continuing. On 2} March they herded us 
into an abandoned brick factory near Du- 
derstadt. It was filthy. The stench alone 
would knock you out. And yet we stayed 
in this place two weeks. We had to. We 
were too sick to go on. 

Our group now started breaking up. I 
was told to go to a small town called Im- 
mingerode. It was only a mile away but it 
took me three hours to get there! I could 
no longer walk properly. I had beriberi, I 
was infested with lice, and my skin came off 
in great big flakes. I had shrunk from a 
healthy 200 pounds to a measly 100. 

At Immingerode, I was quartered in a 
school house with a bunch of dying Amer- 
ican and British POW's, They were even 
worse of! than I. Many of them could not 
walk at all. The Germans managed to get a 
little soup to us every day but we could no 
longer assimilate it. Now at last, the weather 
began to get nice and I knew that spring 
was just around the corner. Each day of 
sunshine I went outside to absorb all I could. 
The rest of the time I just sat and killed lice. 
1 sat like that for two weeks, watching 
prisoners die all around me. Spring came 
too late for them. 

One day the Germans came with a wagon 
and moved us all back to Duderstadt and 
that is where we were liberated. On 9 April 
I looked out through the grimy window of 
the brick factory and saw an American jeep. 
It was the greatest sight I have ever seen. 

From that day began the long period of 
restoration. When I arrived in England, I 
bumped into a former Third Auxer, Cecilia 
Kirschling. She did not even recognize me. 
I had lost my hair, my sight was poor, my 
hearing was impaired, and I was unable to 
talk intelligently. No wonder she did not 
recognize me. 

Seven months and seven Army hospitals 
later, I was again out on my own. Man's 
memory is short. We are prone to forget 
the worst and remember the best. So it is 
with me. But even if I did remember the 
worst, I still could not do justice to it. The 
experience was too terrifying. All I have 
tried to do is convey some idea of the horrors 
of my three months in the concentration 
camps. If I have succeeded in that, I am 

CrandalPs team remained together as far 
as Muhlberg. While Natalie and the other 
enlisted men were evacuated to Gorlitz, the 
officers went to a camp at Schubin in the 
Polish corridor. This was a well-run camp 
that held over fifteen hundred Americans. 
The prisoners had their own classes, main- 
tained a library, and kept in touch with the 
outside world through secret radios. Red 
Cross packages arrived here with more regu- 
larity than at other camps and the contents 
of these packages would fetch anything 
from eggs to firewood in the black market. 
Every prisoner had his Smoky Joe. Messen- 
gers distributed the latest BBC news. In 
fact, life at Schubin was almost human. 

It was 1 5 January when the Third Auxers 
arrived at Schubin, and the Russians had 


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already launched their long-awaked offen- 
sive. The fighting of the previous summer 
had carried the Red Army across the vast 
stretch of territory between the Dnieper 
and the Vistula but it had ground to a halt 
in front of Warsaw. Here, the Germans had 
rallied and they had spent the winter months 
fortifying their positions. On 12 January, 
the fighting flared again, 

The Russians had chosen their time well. 
Poland is a flat country and the frozen 
ground made good footing for tanks. The 
Reds took no chances. They deployed 300 
divisions and heavy tank concentrations 
along the entire 400-mile front. Against 
this, the Germans could muster only 160 
divisions, but they had the advantage of 
prepared defenses and shortening supply 
lines. It was a gigantic battle. 

First, the Russians tore a broad gap south 
of Warsaw. Next, they thrust across the 
Vistula north of the city. By-passed, War- 
saw fell on 17 January, Suddenly, the Ger- 
mans found themselves on the run* Over- 
whelmed by the tremendous scope and 
weight of the Russian Army, they could not 
organize their secondary defenses. Within 
a week the Russians swept forward a hun- 
dred miles. Bydgoszcz fell on 23 January. 
Schubln was next. 

On the morning of 21 January, the Schu- 
bln prisoners were lined up on the drill field 
in the usual freezing weather. A German 
officer addressed them over the loud-speaker: 

"Americans! Schubin is being threatened 
by the forces of that infamous Communist 
Zhukov. Prepare to evacuate. You will be 
fully protected." 

"Protect us? Against what?" sneered 
Crandall. "Who the hell does he think he 
is. Just let me stay right here." 

"Me too," said Dworkm. "When I joined 
the Third Aux, Wallie Haynes told me that 
we would be marching to the sound of guns. 
Guess he was right," 

As if to underscore Dworkin's words, guns 
rumbled in the distance. Outside, long fines 
of fleeing civilians moved slowly towards 
the west. Camp guards paced nervously up 
and down. The signs were unmistakable. 
The Russians were just over the horizon, 

Back in their barracks the prisoners sur- 
veyed their dismal surroundings. Pathetic- 
ally, they uncovered their possessions. Their 
clothes were in rags, their shoes worn thin, 
their blankets tattered and torn. One man 
carefully wrapped a loaf of black bread in a 
dirty rag.^ Another dismantled a Red Cross 
package. Still another crammed a Smoky 
Joe in his pocket. Everybody grabbed some- 
thing. But the yield was pitifully small. How 
could they survive the rigors of the long 
march ahead? 

A light snow began to fall. Bugles sound- 
ed. Men fell in. Guards barked commands. 
Gates swung open. Lines started moving. 

"By God," said Rodda* casting an eye 
ever the grotesquely swathed figures, "We 
look just like Napoleon's Army retreating 
from Moscow." 

Ahead stretched a white expanse, unbrok- 
en except for bleak forests and frozen lakes. 
Here no friendly villages, no neatly kept 
farms, no sheltering hills. Just miles and 
miles of wasteland with howling winds and 
swirling snow. This was forbidding coun- 
try, desolate and inhospitable. This was 
where the proudest armies in the world had 
met defeat. 

The retreating Germans hardly knew 
which way to turn. The Russians gave them 
no respite. Following the break-through at 
Warsaw, German tanks rushed to Lodz to 
meet the advance. But Zhukov drove his left 
wing south and his right wing north and 
before the Germans could make any further 
move he was threatening Schubin. The Ger- 
mans now dispatched strong reinforcements 
to this sector but before these arrived, the 
Russian tanks had wheeled again and dashed 


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for Posen, The German generals were going 
mad. They always had a date with battle a 
hundred miles away. 

The effect of the Russian advance was 
to cut off all roads leading west and south 
of Schubin. The escape route for the Ger- 
mans lay to the northwest, towards Stettin. 
The main roads were unsafe. Soon, the long, 
straggling column found itself strung out 
over roads that were little more than cart 
tracks. Americans, Germans, and Poles 
quickly became intermingled. The Germans 
were mostly farmers that had been resettled 
in Poland during the war. They were flee- 
ing from the Russians with their families 
and belongings. These people were hostile. 
Men would shake their fists and women 
would spit at the Americans who looked 
more like vagabonds than soldiers. A few 
Poles took pity on the prisoners and let them 
throw their bundles on the family cart. The 
German guards frowned on this but did not 
hesitate to put their own baggage on the 
lone vehicle that they had salvaged from 
Schubin. It was a horse-drawn cart! 

In deadly fear of the Communists, the 
Germans maintained a brisk pace. At inter- 
vals, they would open their knapsacks and 
fortify themselves with bread and schnapps. 
For the prisoners, there was neither food nor 
rest. When night came, many were near 

At Seriniki the column came to a halt on 
one of the huge estates that were so common 
in Poland before the war. The gateposts 
announced that this property belonged to 
the Baron von Rosen. A large manor house 
loomed in the center. 

"Well, at least we are going to hobnob 
with the nobility, boys," said Crandall, try- 
ing to infuse a note of humor. 

"Looks more like we're going to hobnob 
with the baron's cattle," said Van Gorder. 
"I bet they'll put us up with the pigs." 

Van Gorder was right. While the guards 

took over a wing of the majn building, the 
prisoners moved into the sheds and barns. 
There was much delay. For more than an 
hour the men stood in freezing weather in 
the courtyard. Crandall demanded to see 
the German omcer in charge. This was a 
Colonel Schneider, a dentist who had been 
riding all day on the horse cart, wrapped in 
blankets. Crandall found him ensconced in 
the baron's study with a glass of schnapps 
and a steaming meal. 

"Sir, these prisoners are in pitiful condi- 
tion. They need medical attention. I re- 
quest permission to hold sick call." 

"Go ahead. Don't bother me," was the 
answer between gulps. 

Third Auxers went to work. What they 
saw was even worse than they had feared. 
There were hundreds of cases of blistered 
feet, frozen ears, sore throats, and dysentery. 
Crandall broke the medical chest open. It 
had nothing but sulfa drugs and charcoal 
tablets! Wearily, the Third Auxers set about 
their task, Crandall went back to the 
Sanitats Offizier. 

"Sir, these men are being marched to 
their grave. There are at least three hun- 
dred who cannot continue. I request that 
they be left behind in charge of our medical 

"Well, that's too bad. But I have my in- 
structions. Every man who cannot march 
is to be shot." 

Crandall felt like kicking the man in the 
teeth. But he had to be diplomatic. Care- 
fully, he explained that there was such a 
thing as the Geneva Red Cross Convention, 
Darkly, he hinted what might happen if 
chose rules were not observed. The German 
relented. He was beginning to see the hand- 
writing on the wall. 

The next morning, the Third Auxers seg- 
regated the worst cases. Crandall selected 
Rodda and Van Gorder to stay behind. For 
them, the long march was over. For thr 


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others, the experience of the previous day 
was now repeated. 

The men lined up. Again there was a 
long wait while the Sanitats Offizier finished 
his breakfast. When he finally appeared, he 
called one of his non-coms and asked if all 
the barns had been searched- He was told 
that this had been done. Unconvinced, he 
ordered a German squad to fire blindly into 
every barn and haystack. Several Americans 
were wounded. It was a Malmedy massacre 
in miniature. Third Auxers boiled. But there 
was nothing they could do. 

The march lasted all day. Here and there, 
men began to drop out. Their white hope 
was to be picked up by the Russians. A few 
did get picked up. The rest froze to death. 

Crandall and Dworkin were at the rear 
of the column. They saw a commotion. An 
American prisoner had fallen heavily on the 
icy ground and passed out. Whether it was 
exhaustion or a skull fracture was difficult 
to determine. It might be both. At any 
rate, the man needed treatment. With a 
little care, he might survive. Without it, he 
would surely die. 

Crandall looked around for the horse cart. 
It was just rounding the corner, the Sanitats 
Offizier chewing on his cigar. 

"Sir, I request; permission to place this 
man on the cart," said Crandall, 

"Impossible," was the answer. "The cart 
is reserved for me." 

"The dirty so-and-so," said Crandall, out 
of earshot. Then he turned towards Dwor- 
kin. "Let's see if we can fix up a litter." 

They carried the casualty to the next vil- 
lage. Once again, Crandall addressed him- 
self to the Sanitats Offizier. Quoting the 
rules of the Geneva Convention, he ex- 
plained that a serious casualty could nrt be 
left behind without medical attention. The 
Sanitats Offizier nodded consent. The issue 
was row between Crandall and Dworkin, 
Crandall won. He stayed. The column 

moved on, Dworkin with it. "And now 
there was only one." 

For seven weeks Dworkin and his men 

marched over the frozen plains of Germany 
from Schubin to Hammelburg, The winter 
of 1945 was unusually cold. Every day was 
a test of endurance, every night a battle 
against the elements. Dworkin would never 
allow his men to stand still. During the long 
waits, they "danced" on their feet and at 
night they slept with their boots under their 
arms. In spite of these precautions, many 
men came down with frozen feet. Dworkin 
always tried to take these unfortunates to 
a farmhouse. When this was not possible 
he could only notify the Germans in the 
next village that there were road casualties. 
The majority of them undoubtedly died 
and when the column finally reached Ham- 
melburg after a 600-mile march, it had 
shrunk to half its original size. This was 
the German version of the Bataan death 

On 13 March the survivors entered the 
gates of Hammelburg. "Entered" is the 
wrong word. They stumbled in. Dworkin 
was down to 12 J pounds from his usual 200. 
He was wearing an American knitted cap, 
a torn battle-jacket, German corduroy 
trousers, shoes bound up with twine, and a 
seven-weeks* beard. The Sanitats Offizier 
now felt called upon to make a speech. He 
lined his men up and addressed them as 

"American soldiers! According to my in* 
structions, I have saved you from those un- 
speakable criminals, the Communists. With- 
out my constant vigilance, you would now 
be in the hands of Zhukov and his hench- 
men. I now entrust you to the care of the 
commanding officer at Hammelburg." 

"Yeah?" sneered Dworkin. "Well, I hope 
that the bastard isn't going to save us from 
the Americans too. That fellow has the 
most perverted idea of saving humanity." 


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At Hammelburg Dworkin met the other 
Third Auxers. For the first time since he 
was captured, he bedded down without fear 
of what the next day would bring. Two 
weeks later Task Force Raum came crash- 
ing through the gates and Dworkin disap- 
peared in the darkness and confusion of 
that melee. He was recaptured the next 

When Hammelburg was evacuated, 
Dworkin was part of a large column that 
marched to Nurnburg. It arrived on 5 
April t simultaneously with a flight of Amer- 
ican bombers. The raid was one of the worst. 
Bombs rained down, not only on the city 
but also on the prisoners' compound, Dwor- 
kin ducked, drawing his jacket over his head. 
This maneuver, clumsy though it was, prob- 
ably saved his life, A bomb fell near him. 
Tons of dirt were shifted. Dworkin was 
buried. He remembers the awful weight on 
his chest, the dreadful suction, the realiza- 
tion that he was buried alive. Then he 
thought of home. His whole Army expe- 
rience flashed before his mind. Had he sur- 
vived this far, only to come to an end now? 
He lost consciousness. 

Dworkin was saved by a quick-thinking 
German guard. The man grabbed a shovel, 
freed Dworkin's head, and pulled him out. 
No Third Auxcr came closer to death. 

The next few hours were full of terror. 
The bombers came back over and over again. 
When they finally left for good, there were 
over fifty dead and hundreds of wounded 
among the prisoners. Dworkin went around 
in a daze. But he was impotent. It was a 
ghastly experience, fortunately the last one 
of its kind. From Nurnburg on, things be- 
gan to look up. 

The prisoners (at least those who were still 
able to walk) were marched off in a south- 
easterly direction. They crossed the Danube 
at Rcgcnsburg. Gradually, the imminence 
of the German defeat began to have its 
effects on the German guards. They no 

longer paid any attention to their prisoners. 
Dworkin decided to take matters in his own 
hands. One evening, while the rest of the 
prisoners were going through the roll-call 
routine, he simply walked away. He went 
to a nearby farmhouse and told the farmer 
in his best German that he was attaching 
himself to the household "for quarters and 
rations/ 1 The farmer welcomed him with 
open arms and when Dworkin saw that there 
was plenty of room and plenty of food, he 
went back and invited five of his buddies 
to join him. 

Meanwhile, the farmer had told his wife 
to prepare the best dinner that she could 
cook. It was food such as the men had not 
seen for months. In the midst of this feast* 
there was a knock on the door, Dworkin 
told the farmer to see who it was. Imagine 
his surprise when he saw the German guards, 
hat in hand, begging for permission to share 
the farmer's hospitality! These same sadistic* 
ham-handed, blood-thirsty blackguards who 
had dogged Dworkin every minute of the 
day for four long months now had the crust 
to apply to him for protection from the ad- 
vancing American Army. Dworkin was 
furious but it was still too early to show his 
true state of mind. Reluctantly, he agreed 
to let the Germans come in. 

The Germans joined in the dinner. There 
were half a dozen of them and after they 
had downed innumerable steins of good Ba- 
varian beer, they asked Dworkin if they 
could bring their captain in too. In that 
way, they would enjoy double protection. 
The captain did not have to be asked twice 
and the evening wound up in an orgy of 
eating and drinking. 

The next day, Dworkin ordered the farm- 
er to kill a pig so that there would be plenty 
of food. News quickly spread that an Amer- 
ican advance unit had established headquar- 
ters at the farm of Klaus Schmidt. The 
burgomeistcr came to pay his respects. 
Dworkin asked him for a car so that he 


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could disport himself according to his dig- 
nity. The villagers began to acclaim Dwor- 
kin as the man to save them from the furies 
of the American tanks. They gave him the 
key to the town and courted his favor at 
every turn. For three days, Dworkin and 
his companions lorded it over the country- 
side. They lived like kings and settled all 
disputes with a magnificent "Das macht 
nichts aus," 

On the fourth day, roving SS troops were 
reported in the vicinity* That was bad news. 
While Dworkin and his friends went into 
hiding, the German captain went out to 
meet the SS men. "All we have here is one 
sick American doctor/* he explained. "He 
will not last much longer. You better leave 
him alone.'* Meanwhile, the "sick, Amer- 
ican doctor" ordered another pig killed so 
that he could gorge himself at the next meal. 
The SS men left. 

The next day, American troops were re- 
ported nearby and the roles were reversed. 
Dworkin scoured the roads while the Ger- 
mans hid out in the basement. This game 
lasted for several more days until finally on 
1 May an honest-to-goodness American tank 
entered the village. Dworkin was the wel- 
coming committee and he accepted his lib- 
eration with mixed emotions. He was just 
beginning to enjoy his role of benevolent 

The Americans hitchhiked to Nurnburg, 
stopping at Velden on the way. Here, they 
saw many of their former guards behind 
the barbed wire of the enclosure, including 
the Herr Sanitats Offizier! "Look at how 
you Americans are treating us,'* complained 
the fellow, "And I saved you from the 
Russians!" "Nuts to you/' said Dworkin. 

Dworkin spent a month in Pans. He ate 
six meals a day, took a shower morning and 
evening, and enjoyed his liberty to the full. 
Then he was repatriated. Dworkin's record 
stands for all to see. Few Third Auxers can 
tell a more exciting tale* 

When the column of American prisoners 
turned its back on the estate of the Baron 
Von Rosen on the morning of 22 January, 
Rodda and Van Gorder found themselves in 
a no-man's land. Their problem was to es- 
tablish contact with the Russians as soon as 
possible. They moved the wounded into the 
main manor house, posted a watch, and 
struck out for the nearest town, Exin. 

Exin looked like a graveyard. There was 
not a soul to be seen. Everybody had gone 
into hiding in anticipation of a Russian holo- 
caust. Uncertain of how to proceed, the 
two Third Auxers walked down the deserted 
streets in search of a clue. On the main 
square, they were stopped by excited shouts 
from a store: "Polski!" It was the town 
druggist who wanted to make it known that 
he was Polish. The Americans answered with 
matching enthusiasm: "Amerikanski!" It 
was hard to say who was more relieved, 
Without a shot, the town passed into Amer- 
ican hands. 

Rodda and Van Gorder entered the drug- 
store. They wanted to explain why they 
had come to Exin. They might as well have 
tried to explain Einstein's relativity theory. 
Within a few minutes, the shop was filled 
with Poles who had heard that the Amer- 
icans had arrived. They all wanted to cele- 
brate. The druggist got out his best bottle 
of schnapps and started passing drinks. 
There was a toast to Roosevelt, a toast to 
Eisenhower, a toast to Bradley, and toasts 
all the way down to the Third Auxiliary 
Surgical Group- 
Tongues came loose and the Third Auxers 
now heard for the first time the inside story 
of the German occupation. It was a long 
story of woe, a story that was interrupted 
by the entrance of a middle-aged woman 
who said that she was the wife of the town 
doctor. Her husband had been abducted 
by the Germans many months ago and the 
civilian population was in desperate need of 
medical attention. Would the American 


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doctors come to her house and see the worst 
cases? It was a request that was hard to 
refuse. The Third Auxers set up shop. 

As soon as word got about that there were 
two Americans doctors in town, sick and 
injured people converged on the doctor's 
house. There were cases of typhus, diph- 
theria, dysentery, tuberculosis, boils, and 
almost every other imaginable condition, 
Rodda and Van Gorder went to work forth- 
with and they finished the day with a sump- 
tuous dinner of roast beef, the first they 
had had in many a moon. 

The next morning* while they were still 
asleep, the doctor's wife rushed in to say that 
Russian tanks had been reported on the out- 
skirts of the town. There was only one thing 
to do: go and meet the Russians. Simple as 
this sounded, the job was tricky at best. As 
yet, the Russians had seen no Americans and 
they were great hands at shooting first. 
Would they accept the Americans for what 
they were? On this depended success or 

Rodda and Van Gorder left the doctor's 
house, prepared for the worst. They headed 
for the main square but they had hardly 
gone halfway when out of a side street came 
the sound of an approaching tank. Present- 
ly it rounded the corner. The Third Aux- 
ers stood motionless. They were looking at 
a steel giant, surmounted by a monstrous 
gun. Riding on the turret were a dozen 
Russian infantrymen. The Russians seemed 
as surprised as the Americans. 

The gun turret swung around with such 
speed that it knocked a number of the Rus- 
sian soldiers off their perch. The Americans 
would have burst out in laughter, had their 
plight not been so serious. Here they were 
in the middle of a Polish village looking 
at a Russian tank and shaking hands with 
the muzzle of a 110 mm gun. One false 
move by a trigger-happy Russian and they 
would be dead ducks. 

"The stinkers f" said Van Gorder. 

"Speak the speech, do your stuff, stop 
the Russ, Jack, This is your chance to get 
the Congressional Medal of Honor/' said 

"Oh yeah?" 

The Russian soldiers advanced and Van 
Gorder explained in his best German how 
two Americans came to be in Exin. The 
Russians just looked dumb. They had never 
seen any Americans. The soldiers called the 
tank sergeant, the tank sergeant called his 
company commander, the company com- 
mander called the battalion commander, 
and eventually there was a great hurrah after 
which Americans and Russians shook hands 
all around. It was the first meeting of the 
Allies on the Eastern front. 

If the Russians had appeared jovial for a 
minute, they quickly returned to the grim 
business of chasing Germans. Rodda and 
Van Gorder looked at each other. They 
had not enjoyed their experience particu- 
larly and there was no telling what the next 
tank sergeant would do. They decided to 
return to the doctor's house. 

The tanks were followed by infantry 
units. This was an Army that moved on 
its feet. Except for their tanks, the Rus- 
sians appeared ill-fed, ill-clothed, and ill- 
equipped. Even their standard operating 
procedure appeared ill-conceived. It con^ 
sisted of a house-to-house search for food, 
liquor, and women, Exin was plunged into 
despair. More and more victims of Russian 
violence found their way to the doctor's 
house. Rodda and Van Gorder converted 
the office into an operating room. Soon they 
were wholly absorbed in their task. 

It was not until several days later that the 
first Russian medical detachment arrived. 
It was commanded by a woman with the 
rank of major. She was a dour and dumpy 
creature who walked in on the Third Aux- 
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she saw was a wounded civilian with a cast 
on his leg. The Russians never used plaster 
casts at the front. She immediately conclud- 
ed chat she had walked into a secret German 
hospital. Her first words were: "You are 
all under arrest!" Vainly Van Gorder tried 
to make her understand. He just got more 
and more involved. The woman motioned 
to one of her flunkies: "Get rid of these 
Fascists," she said. It looked like Siberia for 
the Third Auxers. 

The town druggist saved the day. He 
spoke Russian and made the woman under- 
stand, Rodda and Van Gorder were allowed 
to stay at their station and the Russians took 
over a school building across the street. Their 
aid station had only the crudest equipment 
and yet it was over a hundred miles from 
the nearest hospital. Abdominal casualties 
were placed in a far-off corner where they 
died without benefit of surgery. When the 
Russian major heard that the Americans 
were operating on such patients with good 
results, she asked if they would come over 
and undertake the surgical treatment of all 
wounds involving the abdomen, Rodda and 
Van Gorder obliged. They did not know 
what they were letting themselves in for. 

The Russians did not believe in heating 
their operating room. Neither did they be- 
lieve in lighting it, except with candles. 
When Rodda started pouring ether, a light- 
ed candle was at his side, ready to ignite the 
fumes. But there were no fumes for the 
simple reason that ether does not evaporate 
at freezing temperatures. One hazard offset 
the other. Van Gorder opened the abdomen. 
The tissues steamed like a boiling kettle. 
Within a few minutes, Van Gorder's fingers 
were numb with cold. But he completed the 
operation all the more quickly and the pa- 
tient lived. The Russians were flabbergasted. 

The schedule at Exin was truly back- 
breaking. The Third Auxers had to look 
after the civilians, help the Russians, treat 
the American casualties from the estate of 

the Baron Von Rosen, and keep an ear to 
the ground. For two weeks they tried to 
keep up with the work but it was obvious 
that Exin held out no future for them. No 
wonder that they cast about for greener pas- 
tures. The greener pasture seemed to be, of 
all places, at Schubin! There was a rumor 
that Schubin harbored an American doctor. 
Furthermore, Schubin lay in the direction 
of liberty. The Russian drive had come to 
a halt on the Oder and any flight to the west 
would stop there. The Third Auxers decided 
to try their luck to the east. Who could 
tell but what they might wind up in Mos- 

The American doctor at Schubin was 
none other than Crandall. Crandall had 
dropped out of the line at Inowroclaw to 
stay with a march casualty. He took his 
patient to a school building in the center 
of the town, little realizing that he was 
sticking his nose into a hornet's nest, Inow- 
roclaw was in German hands but the Poles 
were rapidly mobilizing their underground 
army and they had a secret headquarters in 
the very building where Crandall hoped to 
find shelter. The first man Crandall met was 
a Polish vigilante who maintained contact 
with the Russians by means of a secret radio, 
Crandall hardly knew whether this im- 
proved his situation or made it worse. Since 
there was no answer to this question, he 
concentrated on his patient. And with good 
effect. The man responded so dramatically 
to rest and warmth that Crandall quickly 
dropped his diagnosis of fractured skull. 

The retreating German forces were rally- 
ing at Inowroclaw. It was obvious that they 
intended to defend the town. That evening, 
the Polish underground workers met in the 
basement of the school building. The Ger- 
mans had been tipped oft. They staged a 
raid. The Poles fled but they were shot in 
cold blood as they ran. The Germans 
searched the building and came upon Cran- 
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on a ruse. While Crandall explained to the 
Germans how he came to be in this spot, 
the other American conveniently lapsed into 
a deep coma from which no shouts or im- 
precations could arouse him. Pointing at the 
bloody bandages on the man's head, Cran- 
dall cried indignantly: "As an American 
medical officer, I am dedicated to the wel- 
fare of this seriously injured soldier. The 
rules of the Geneva Convention say so. Any- 
body who interferes is nothing but a miser- 
able scoundrel. Cease and desist!" The Ger- 
mans were completely fooled. They with- 

The next day the heat was on. First, small 
parties of Russians tried to cross the canal 
that ran through the town but they were 
hurled back by strong German forces on 
the opposite bank. As the battle developed, 
the Russians were joined by the Poles and 
the school house came under concentrated 
fire, Crandall and his companion hid in the 
basement, expecting to be blown up any 
moment. Several shells did hit the building 
but the Americans escaped injury. Finally, 
the combined Russian and Polish force came 
in such numbers that the Germans were 
overwhelmed. They abandoned their posi- 
tions and fled for their lives. By evening, 
Inowroclaw was in Russian hands. 

The situation for the Americans remained 
critical. How could they prove their iden- 
tity under these damaging circumstances? 
The first Russians to reach the school house 
were in no mood to listen, even if they had 
been able to understand English. They 
seized the two nondescript characters and 
were just about to consign them to the 
OGPU when a Russian officer who knew a 
smattering of English appeared on the scene. 
He listened to Crandall and told him to look 
after the Russian casualties, pending the ar- 
rival of a medical detachment. Crandall 
breathed a sigh of relief, even though he 
was immediately pitched into the discourag- 

ing task of trying to bring the doomed back 
to life, 

Crandall worked at this post for several 
days. Then, the Russians moved on and 
he made his way back to Schubin without 
touching the town of Exin. Thus it was 
that Crandall, Rodda, and Van Gorder had 
a reunion in the very town whence the Ger- 
mans had evacuated them, Schubin was still 
a dismal spot but it marked the beginning 
of the trail to freedom. The Third Auxers 
were overjoyed. 

During the two weeks they worked at 
Schubin, the Third Auxers averaged two 
hours of sleep out of twenty-four. Casual- 
ties poured in from the front to the north. 
Towards the west, the Russians were already 
standing on the Oder, but towards the north, 
the front was only ten miles away. Schubin 
was the shoulder of a deep salient into Ger- 
man territory. 

A Soviet commissar installed himself in 
the city hall. He sent word that he wished 
to see the Americans. Crandall, Rodda, and 
Van Gorder put on their Sunday best and 
presented themselves at the appointed hour. 
Far from seeing a fierce-looking Communist 
with unkempt mien and savage manners, 
they came face to face with a glib and pol- 
ished bureaucrat who proved to be far better 
informed than his counterparts in the Army, 
This was the first educated Russian to cross 
the path of the Americans and he was a 
living demonstration of how the Soviet re- 
gime operated in the field. There was no 
waste motion. 

"You are the American doctors from the 
prison camp?" 


"I have orders to clear Schubin of all 
foreigners. When can you leave?" 

"Today. But where do we go?" 

"The road to Berlin isn't open yet." 

"What about the road to Moscow? 1 ' 

"It is long and arduous." 


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"Never mind that. But we will need a 
pass. Your soldiers almost shot us once/' 

"You will have your pass." 

"Heil Stalin." 

"Heil Roosevelt," 

The Third Auxers consulted their map. 
Moscow was eight hundred miles to the east. 
They should be able to make it in a week. 

The next day, 22 February, a convoy left 
for Bromberg and the Third Auxers hitched 
a ride. The trucks had open cabs and caught 
the full blast of the wind, a wind that gath- 
ered in violence as the day wore on. The 
Russians had fur-lined parkas and heavy 
wraps but the Third Auxers had nothing 
but their tattered combat jackets and they 
slowly congealed in their exposed positions. 
The vehicles broke down repeatedly and the 
men would stand around on the frozen snow 
while the damage was being repaired. With 
each halt, the Russians passed the vodka bot- 
tle around. They showed an amazing toler- 
ance to this vile liquid, one drink of which 
was enough to incapacitate the Americans, 
and when they finally pulled into Bromberg, 
the Third Auxers could neither walk nor 
talk. They decided to thaw out at the 

The hospital was run by Poles and Rus- 
sians. Military and civilian casualties were 
thrown together without the slightest re- 
gard for segregation or priority. The crowd- 
ing was unbelievable. As soon as news got 
around that three American doctors had ar- 
rived, there was a great clamor for their 
services and the Third Auxers went to work 
in the operating room. For the time being, 
Moscow was in the background, 

A week later, the front to the north of 
the city suddenly flared. On an especially 
cold and snowy night, the Germans lashed 
out in a counterattack to relieve the be- 
leaguered city of Danzig. Bromberg was 
only lightly held by the Russians and before 
anybody knew what was happening, the city 

was enveloped. The Third Auxers viewed 
the situation with alarm. 

"Let's gee out of here," said Crandall. 
"This battle is coming close to home." 

"What a night to start traveling," said 

"If we wait till morning, we'll travel as 
guests of the Krauts. Let's see if we can 
find a truck," 

On the plaza in front of the hospital, a 
Russian truck driver was firing up his ve- 

"Wait a minute, tovarich! How would 
you like to take us along?" Without wait- 
ing for an answer, the Third Auxers jumped 
on. They had learned to let actions speak. 

The vehicle lumbered on. Across the de- 
serted plaza, past some barricades, down a 
steep hill to the bridge across the Vistula. 
It was pitch black. German battalions were 
already in the city and the driver had to 
detour several times before he reached the 
bridge. He made it. On the other side 
was Torun. 

The Russians were gathering for a stand 
along the river. Torun was alive with them. 
The hour was late and the temperature be- 
low freezing. The Third Auxers had little 
stomach for an all-night drive. They got off, 

"It looks to me as if we have jumped from 
the frying pan into the fire," said Rodda. 

"Fire? Where do you see a fire?" said Van 
Gorder, his teeth chattering. "I want to 
warm up." 

A figure loomed out of the darkness. It 
was a Polish constable. Van Gorder tried to 
talk to the man. His German was lost on 
the Pofe. In the midst of this one-way con- 
versation, a Russian patrol appeared on the 
scene. The Polish constable went into a long 
explanation, the upshot of which was that 
the Americans were marched off to jail. It 
was obvious that they were suspected of be- 
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At the jail, an MP lieutenant made a half- 
hearted attempt at interrogation. Van Gor- 
der did his best but his words fell on deaf 
ears. Finally the lieutenant said something 
that sounded like: "Throw these Fascists in 
jail and hang thern tomorrow/* 

"But we have a pass!" remonstrated Van 
Gorder and he reached for his bill fold. 

The lieutenant looked at the paper. Scorn- 
fully, he shrugged his shoulders: "Nitch- 
ewo." A pass from Schubin meant nothing 
to him. 

The Torun jail was full of petty crim- 
inals, black marketeers, Polish collaborators, 
Nazi spies, and the flotsam of a defeated 
nation, all thrown together in one large bull 
pen with no heat, no ventilation, and no 
light. The atmosphere was heavy but the 
Third Auxers were too much preoccupied to 
notice it. They were exhausted and they fell 
asleep immediately. 

The next day did not bring the hang- 
man's noose. It brought nothing, not even 
food* Evidently, the Russians did not be- 
lieve in feeding their prisoners. At every 
opportunity, the Third Auxers harangued 
the guard, pouring all their indignation into 
that one magic word Articrikansk/! Finally, 
it worked. The guard unlocked the door, 
put handcuffs on the Americans* and led 
them before yet another MP lieutenant. This 
man was intelligent enough to realize that 
he was dealing with escaped prisoners of war 
but did not make the slightest attempt to 
straighten their path. All he did was to 
exhort the men that they must leave Torun 
immediately on penalty of being locked up 
again! The plight of the Third Auxers was 
apparently unsolvable. Nobody wanted 
them, nobody directed them, and nobody 
gave them comfort. They were outcasts. 

The battle for Bromberg ended in a rout 
for the Germans, Russian reinforcements 
turned the scales two days after the attack 
had started. But the Third Auxers did not 

go back. They decided to make another try 
for Moscow and wangled a ride on a truck 
that seemed to be going in the right direc- 
tion. The weather suddenly turned mild. 
The road became a quagmire. Axle-deep 
potholes stalled the vehicle repeatedly. At 
one point the road disappeared into a smal] 
river and the men were stranded for several 
hours with water up to their waists. The 
driver met all obstacles with a grandiloquent 
"Nitchewo" and did not exhibit the slightest 
concern. It was obvious that he would never 
reach the next town, let alone Moscow. 

"I take a dim view of this," said Rodda. 
"Why don't we get off and hop a freight? 
I think I can see railroad tracks." 

"Sure," said Van Gorder. "And look! 
There's a station." t 

The "station" was nothing more than a 
shack. In the United States, it would not 
even have sheltered a menagerie of cats and 
dogs, but in Poland it held out a beckoning 
hand. The Third Auxers got off. They 
walked along the tracks and found a station 
master who could speak a little German. An 
eastbound train was due within an hour, he 
said. Would there be room? Trains for Mos- 
cow had plenty of room. 

At the appointed hour, an incredibly dirty 
and decrepit train hove into view. It stopped. 
The Third Auxers jumped on. They recon- 
noitered, The train was made up of empty 
cattle cars and their only traveling com- 
panion was a Russian lieutenant who flashed 
a big smile and several broken teeth. 

"Where are we going, tovarich?" 


"We are going with you," 


The train rumbled on. Never doing more 
than fifteen miles an hour, it made innum- 
erable wayside stops for no observable pur- 
pose whatever. The Russian lieutenant spent 
his time brewing tea and eating black bread 
which he shared generously with the Amer- 


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icans. At intervals he would point to some 
miserable hovels in the distance and an- 
nounce that this was Czczuczyn or Przas- 
nysz or whatever the local geography called 
for. He made his headquarters in a car that 
had the Russian equivalent of a Sibley stove 
and he was a past master at finding firewood 
along the right of way. The Third Auxers 
dried out. This was not a bad deal at all. 

The train entered the Pinsk marshes and 
meandered towards Minsk. At Bialystok 
the rails were washed out and there was a 
long delay. The Third Auxers wandered 
through the town in search of food. All they 
could find was more black bread. They re- 
turned to their cattle car. It was home to 

At Negoreloe, Soviet police boarded the 
train. They questioned the Russian lieu- 
tenant at length and then concentrated on 
the Third Auxers, And they were very hard 
to please. Even the pass from the commis- 
sar at Schubin made no impression on them. 
In vain, the Third Auxers explained that 
they were going to Moscow. In Russia, no- 
body went to Moscow except high officials. 
"But we are high officials," countered Cran- 
dall. "We are representatives of the famous 
101st Airborne Division and we want to 
confer an honorary membership on Stalin/* 
The police seemed baffled. They telephoned 
for instructions. From Minsk to Pinsk the 
answer was the same: "Tell these insolent 
Americans to take the next train to War- 
saw/ 1 Moscow was simply out of the ques- 

The Third Auxers bedded down in the 
Negoreloe railroad station under the watch- 
ful eye of the police. They were now in 
Russia. The town was bleak and dismal. 
The country was drab and treeless. The 
people were gruff and hostile. Van Gorder 
summed the situation up: "If this is Russia, 
let's go back to Poland." 

The next day a train to Warsaw rolled 

into the station. It was jammed. The Third 
Auxers thumbed their noses at the Negoreloe 
police and got on. At Brest Litofsk, the 
train switched south and the Americans 
transferred to another train. This one took 
them to within twenty miles of their goal. 
They walked in. 

Warsaw had ceased to exist. The destruc- 
tion was fearsome. Not a house had escaped. 
This was a city of the dead. The Third 
Auxers directed their steps to Praga, a sub- 
urb on the east bank of the Vistula. At the 
Praga hospital they were received with open 
arms. They were the first American doctors 
to appear in Warsaw and they were like a 
breath of fresh air to the Poles who had 
suffered under five years of Nazi suppres- 
sion and were now suffering even worse at 
the hands of the Russians. These men were 
hungry for first-hand reports of medical 

When Warsaw fell in 1939 the Nazis im- 
mediately dissolved the medical school and 
liquidated the professors. Desperately, the 
Poles took matters in their own hands. They 
started an underground medical school. 
Students met at the homes of their teachers 
and pursued their work with such alacrity 
that over two hundred of them were grad- 
uated during the five years of the occupa- 
tion. When the Russian siege started in the 
fall of 1 944 and casualties eventually reached 
the half-million mark, it was these young 
men and women who were the first line of 
medical defense. 

Their medical education made up in en- 
thusiasm for what it lacked in quality. No 
wonder that the Third Auxers were quickly 
surrounded by a crowd of eager doctors 
whose first question was: "Is it true that 
there is a new wonder drug, penicillin?" 
The questions came so fast and furious that 
Crandall decided to put on a series of sem- 
inars. These seminars were attended not only 
by the graduates of the Warsaw medical 


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school but also by the entire student body 
so that the total attendance ran into the 
hundreds. The Third Auxers discussed the 
use of penicillin, the technique of new op- 
erations, the plaster-cast treatment of 
wounds, and a host of other subjects that 
were of intense interest to men who had 
been cut off from medical progress for fi"e 
long years. The Poles listened with rapt at- 

Gradually, more and more liberated pris- 
oners made their way to Warsaw. The Rus- 
sians built a huge stockade where they treat- 
ed their Allies a shade worse, if possible, than 
they treated their German prisoners. The 
food was vile, the quarters offensive, the at- 
mosphere hostile. The Third Auxers visited 
this stockade several times in the hope of 
being able to do something for their fellows 
from Schubin but it was love's labor lost. 
The Russians just shrugged their shoulders. 

The situation in Praga deteriorated. Al- 
though the Poles did everything within their 
power to make life bearable for the Third 
Auxers, they could not shield their friends 
from the attention of the Russians. The 
hospital was a center of Polish patriots and 
as such was full of Russian counterintelli- 
gence men. It became dangerous for the 
Americans to be so closely associated with 
underground activities. 

"We've got to get out of here," said Cran- 
dall. "If we don't, well wind up in that 
forsaken stockade in Warsaw/' 

"Where can we go?" asked Van Gorder. 
"We've tried Moscow and we can't make 
any headway towards Berlin.'* 

"The only route open is to the south,'* 
countered Crandall. "Are you with me?" 


When the Poles heard that the Americans 
were leaving they decided to put on a fare- 
well banquet. Crandall tried to discourage 
the idea because he knew that the food situ- 
ation was but little better than it had been 

under the Nazis, People were still gnawing 
on bones f r jm dead horses. How was it pos- 
sible to put on a banquet under such circum- 
stances? But the Poles insisted and on the 
evening of the dinner hundreds of doctors 
gathered in the main assembly hall. Those 
who came to pay their respects ate a meal of 
soup and black bread. In the middle of this 
repast, one fried egg was placed before the 
Third Auxers. It was the only egg in all of 
Warsaw! The Americans were touched. 
They expressed their appreciation with tears 
in their eyes and promised that they would 
return as soon as possible with a supply of 
penicillin. To this day they regret that they 
could never make good on their promise. 

On 15 March they started anew. They 
walked to the outskirts of Praga and 
thumbed a ride on a huge truck that was 
carrying a load of demobbed Polish soldiers 
to their hometown of Lublin. The Poles 
were as excited as children. They had sal- 
vaged a barrel of beer and were gloriously 
inebriated long before the truck reached 
Lublin. In the general wassail, all national 
differences were forgotten and the Third 
Auxers kept their end up with innumerable 
long drafts of beer. For the first time in 
their captivity, they saw laughing, merry 

All Lublin participated in the celebra- 
tions. The returning heroes made a trium- 
phant tour of the city which many of them 
had not seen since the fall of Poland in 1939, 
There was not only the official welcome but 
also any number of impromptu reunions on 
the street, each one with its quota of toasts 
and embraces. Lublin took a holiday. The 
Americans basked in the limelight. 

It was in the midst of these festivities that 
Crandall heard of a train that was carrying 
Allied prisoners of war to the Black Sea port 
of Odessa. The train had pulled into Lublin 
earlier in the day and was still in the station. 
The Third Auxers investigated. They asked 


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to see the train commander, a painfully cor- 
rect British major who, even at this late 
date, insisted on carrying out his orders* His 
orders said that the train was reserved for 
the British. The Americans could go to hell. 
Crandall saw red. "Major," he said, "I hate 
to do this to you but if we don't get on this 
train, the War O&ce is going to hear about 
it.*' The major backtracked. The Third 
Auxers got on. 

The trek to Odessa took a full week, a 
full week of black bread, freezing tempera- 
tures, and standing room only. During this 
week, the landscape changed from the frozen 
plains of Poland to the rainswept fields of 
Bessarabia. At every stop* dour-faced Rus- 
sian guards with fixed bayonets paced the 
platform to keep the citizens of the U.S.S.R. 
from being contaminated with the soldiers 
of the democracies. "You'd think that we 
were going to Siberia," said Rodda. "Well, 
they can have their country. I never want 
to see it again." 

At Odessa, the prisoners were transferred 
to a British ship which sailed through the 
Bosporus into the Mediterranean. It made 
brief stops at Istanbul and Malta and it 
docked at Marseille one week after leaving 
Odessa. Here, the British soldiers disbarked 
and the Americans continued on the same 
boat to Naples where they arrived on 2 
April. The end of their odyssey was in sight. 

The Third Auxers requested to be reas- 
signed to the 101st Airborne but this request 
was refused. Crandall and Rodda flew back 
to the States. Van Gorder followed by boat. 
For Team No. 19 the war was over. But, 
although these men were never to work to- 
gether again, their joint achievement during 
the six brief months of 1944 is enough to 
earn them a permanent place of fame in the 
annals of airborne medical service. They 
were pioneers. They were men without fear. 
They braved great dangers to help their 
fellows. The Third Aux salutes them. 

The rest of the story of the Bulge can be 
told in a few words. As early as the second 
day, the Allied High Command ordered a 
shift in the disposition of the troops. First 
Army stopped operations at the Roer and 
concentrated on the northern shoulder of 
the salient. Third Army stopped operations 
at the Saar and concentrated on the southern 
shoulder. The gallant defense of St, Vith 
and Bastogne took the sting out of the Ger- 
man drive. Unable to break these strong 
points, the Germans by-passed them, only 
to bog down for lack of communications* 
On 24 December German tanks were within 
sight of the Meuse at Dinant, It was a short- 
lived glimpse. On the next day, the 2nd 
Armored Division wiped out the German 
spearhead. The Bulge stopped bulging. 

By 29 December the Germans were on the 
defensive. They began a general withdrawal. 
On 3 January, the Americans began a two- 
pronged offensive, designed to bite into the 
base of the Bulge. First Army drove towards 
Houtfalize from the north, Third Army 
from the south. In ten days of savage fight- 

liobcl Johnson ntorrioi Ffonk Hickory. 


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1 cy 

ing under the most difficult conditions yet 
experienced, these two armies squeezed the 
life blood out of the fifth Panzer Army. The 
junction took place at a point near Houffal- 
ize on 14 January but not before the Ger- 
mans had extricated most of their troops. 
On 23 January, the Americans re-entered 
St. Vith and a few days later the front ran 
again approximately as it did on that fateful 
16 December. 

Third Aux teams led a hard life during 
these weeks. In the beginning, the situation 
was so confused that field hospitals ceased 
to operate altogether. Everybody was run- 
ning for his life. Shortly after the first of 
the year, a line of evacuation was re-estab- 
lished but the severe winter weather wrought 
havoc everywhere. The period from the 
middle of December till the end of January 
marked a low point for the Third Aux, not 
only in performance but in morale. The mis- 
erable quarters, the appalling weather, the 
grim isolation, the military reverses, and the 
uncertainty about the captured teams, all 
this contributed towards making Third 
Auxers sick at heart. They did not perk 
up until the first breath of spring. 

Nevertheless, romance flourished. On 26 
January* Isobel Johnson married Frank 

Moribftl Dorton marries John Auld. Picture 

taken at the reception at Third Aux Head* 


Hickory of the 2nd Armored in an impres- 
sive ceremony at the beautiful chateau 
Florze, Isobel and Frank had met in Sicily, 
courted in England, battled red tape in 
France, and were married with full pomp 
and circumstance in Belgium. They have 
lived happily ever after. 

The second wedding was that of Maribel 
Dorton and John Auld of the 20th Engi- 
neers, This romance too blossomed in Sicily 
and stood the test of Army slow-down reg- 
ulations. The wedding was solemnized at 
the English Episcopal Church in Spa on 2 
February. Third Auxers showed up in great 
numbers, after having received the follow- 
ing invitations: 

Hdqs to combine forces 
Office of License Comdr 

APO 230 U.S. Army 
January 1945 

I do 

John G. Auld 
Maribel E. Dorton 
To tie the knot 

1. Operations 

2. Codeword 

3. Forces involved 

4. Objective 

5. Avenue of approach The middle aisle 

6. Line of departure Spa, Belgium 

7. H-hour 1050 2 Feb 

8. Supporting forces You 

9. The enemy None 

10. Equipment required Old shoe *n rice 

1 1 . Password Rolling — Pin 

12. Time involved Forever 

By order of Gen Mutual A. Greement 
(signed) : Twoas Cheapasone, Jr 
Official: Colonel, U.S. Army 

Matt Trimony 
General, Allied Forces 
Dist: Universal 

After the war, the Auld-Dorton Allied 
Force established headquarters in Homer 
City, Pennsylvania where it has operated 
with great success. 


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After the Bulge, First Army concentrated 
on the Roer dams, those same dams that had 
defied the Americans since October. The 
drive started on 2 February. The Germans 
put up a fierce resistance and opened the 
floodgates just before the Americans reached 
their objective. The river became a raging 
torrent and delayed the next offensive for a 
full two weeks* 

The Roer crossings took place on 23 Feb- 
ruary in the vicinity of Duren. After sev- 
eral days of heavy fighting, resistance crum- 
bled and by 27 February a complete break- 
through had been achieved. Armored spear- 
heads raced across the plain of Cologne and 
reached the Rhine on 4 March, Colog ne _f ell 
on 7 March. On the same day, arT advanced 
patrol of the 9th Armored Division seized 
the Remagen railroad bridge and troops 
started pouring across the river. First and 
Third Army joined hands north of Coblenz. 
The west bank of the Rhine was securely 
in American hands. 

During March, Third Auxers saw Ger- 
many beyond the Siegfried Line and what 
they saw was a very neat, very clean, and 
very beautiful country. For the first time 
in months, the weather took a turn for the 
better and the Rhine valley revealed itself in 
all its legendary charm and riches. From 
Cologne in the north to Coblenz in the 
south, the country was dotted with pic- 
turesque villages, well-tilled fields, and ter- 
raced vineyards. Especially vineyards. This 

was the center of the Rhine wine country 
where every village had its own cooperative. 
Third Auxers had a nose for the juicy spots, 
although they sometimes came off second 
best. Few will forget Ahrweiler. 

At Ahrweiler the men liberated a virtual- 
ly intact winery* Thousands of barrels with 
the choicest brands were stored in subter- 
ranean vaults. On the evening before the 
Rhine crossing* the 1 3th Field Hospital 
staged a party at which wine was the main 
ingredient. Unfortunately, the truck driv- 
ers picked up the wrong barrels. Instead 
of bringing the properly ripened product, 
they delivered a barrel of green wine. The 
stuff was just so much poison. It acted as 
an emetic, aperient, and excitant. Before 
the party was many hours old, the merry- 
makers ran in all directions, some sick, some 
fluxed, some wild! Several thought that they 
had been poisoned and started hunting Jer- 
ries in the dead of night. Others simply col- 
lapsed in their tents. The next morning, the 
ground was dotted with patches of evil- 
smelling, wine-colored vomitus. Long lines 
formed at the latrines. It was a sad after- 

The first hospital across the river was the 
5 1st Field Hospital which set up at Unkel on 
14 March. A few days later, the 13 th Field 
Hospital followed. It went to Linz, a fam- 
ous name in the Rhineland. Linz had the 
greatest champagne stores in the world when 
the Third Auxers moved in. When they 

&J«A - J 

a l m 


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moved out, the stores were considerably de- 
pieced and the Third Aux had temporarily 
changed its name to Third Auxiliary Drink- 
ing Group, Not all the champagne found its 
way into Third Auxers' stomachs, however. 
After the first few days, the civil adminis- 
trator arrived* He was a righteous man and 
immediately declared the vaults out of 
bounds. But who was to clean up the mess? 
Third Auxers volunteered. They arrived 
with mops and buckets and, since the city 
water supply was out of commission, they 
scrubbed the floor with the same champagne 
that sold for eighty-four shillings a bottle 
in London. It was the most enthusiastic 
clean-up detail in the history of the Third 

The Germans made a desperate effort to 
contain the rapidly expanding beachhead 
across the Rhine. They kept their guns 

trained on the Ludendorff bridge for many 
days and they even sent a suicide squad down 
the river to blow it up. It was to no avail. 
The bridge did collapse on 17 March but by 
this time four pontoon bridges were already 
in operation and the flow of men and mate- 
riel continued without serious interruption. 
In reality, the fate of the German Army 
had been sealed west of the Rhine. The losses 
could not be replaced. The troops that had 
been salvaged were second-string and they 
were stretched to the breaking point along 
the 3 J 0-mile front. Von Rundstedt was re- 
placed with Kesselring but the greatest mili- 
tary genius in the world could not have re- 
trieved the situation. 

First Army seized the day of the mass- 
crossings for a new drive towards the east. 
Giessen and Marburg were captured on 28 
March, Next, the Jrd Armored sliced 

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Brand, Germany, jutt before the Roer crossings. 


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through fifty miles of enemy territory and 
sealed the southern boundary of the Ruhr 
pocket. Simultaneously, Ninth Army ex- 
panded along the northern boundary. The 
two armies met at Lippstadt on 1 April and 
completed the encirclement. This was the 
crowning disaster for the Germans, Out of 
approximately sixty divisions on the western 
front, twenty-one were trapped! The yield 
was even greater than at Stalingrad, hitherto 
the largest operation of its kind. The Ruhr 
pocket was rapidly liquidated. On 11 April, 
Essen fell. Three days later, the pocket was 
split in two by the junction of American 
spearheads at Hagen. On 19 April, all re- 
sistance ceased. 

During the battle for the Ruhr, field hos- 
pitals were still able to function according 
to the accepted formula. Third Auxers 
worked a little, looked around a little, and 

-^ - ~ 

looted a little. Looting in those days did 
not imply any great crime. Rather, it was 
the natural result of the circumstances. The 
methods used were almost genteel compared 
with the standard operating procedure of 
the Nazis during their heyday. 

Field hospitals usually arrived in town at 
a time when the combat troops had already 
left, but before the advent of the civil ad- 
ministrator. During this interim, Germans 
who wanted to stay out of trouble sur- 
rendered all their contraband possessions to 
the burgomaster who impounded the articles 
at the city hall. With his well-known nose 
for such things, a Third Auxer could usually 
smell out the cache. If he did not find at 
least one good camera or binocular, it was 
just a matter of waiting until he got to the 
next town* 

At Berleburg Third Auxers did not even 

The 51st Field Hotpitol croisei the Rhine, 

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have to look. The hoard was practically 
thrown at them. Berleburg was the family 
home of the Prince of Wittgenstein, a noble- 
man of ancient lineage, The prince took 
great pride in a truly marvelous collection 
of firearms which he had gathered from ail 
parts of the world. Knowing the American 
weakness for items of that sort, he had 
buried the guns on his estate and posted a 
crude sign at the gate: 


The peculiar mixture of English and Ger- 
man aroused Zeiders 1 curiosity. He decided 
to have a look. No sooner had he entered 
the grounds than a Polish slave laborer has- 
tened towards him with the information 
that a great treasure lay buried nearby. Zeid- 
ers had visions of the crown jewels and start- 
ed back to town to tell the MP's about it. 
He was overtaken by the prince himself who 
had witnessed the conversation between the 
laborer and the American from afar. The 
prince knew that the hiding of firearms 
was a capital offense* To clear himself be- 

forehand, he told Zeiders a cock-and-bull 
story to the effect that his gardener had 
buried the guns without consulting any- 
body. Zeiders said: "We'll see." 

The MP's set out to unearth the treasure. 
They found no crown jewels but the guns 
were enough to make anybody's mouth 
water. The collection was undoubtedly one 
of the most valuable in the world. The prince 
was biting his lips. This looked bad for him. 
Under martial law* he could have been shot 
on the spot, American justice took a dif- 
ferent course. After the Third Auxers had 
helped themselves to the guns, the MP lieu- 
tenant turned to Zeiders: 

"You are the ranking officer here, Major. 
What do you want to do with the prince?" 

"Ill be darned if I know," said Zeiders. 
"Can't we just give him a good scare?" 

"Sure, Let's put him on the hood of the 
jeep and bounce him around for a while. 
That will teach him a lesson." 

And that was all that was done. 

The Ruhr pocket had carried First Army 

I 3 


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School koute at Honnef, lite of th« Slit Field Hdipital, 

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■ry token by First Army from 6 June 1944 ro S May 1945. 



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as far east as Paderborn on I April. The next 
three weeks were spent mainly in the clean- 
ing up of the pocket. With this accom- 
plished, the troops again faced east. They 
cut a swath thirty to fifty miles wide point- 
ing towards Leipzig. The pattern repeated 
itself over and over. Armored columns 
probed for soft spots and the infantry dis- 
posed of the by-passed centers. Leipzig fell 
on 18 April, The Harz mountains yielded 
another great batch of prisoners. First Army 
coasted to a stop on the Elbe-Mulde line 
and waited for the Russians, The Junction 
took place at Torgau on 2 J April, 

Third Auxers coasted too. They still did 
a little work but the day of the field hos- 
pital was gone. Now came a time for indi- 
vidual exploration. The trip to Karlsbad 
will always rank as typical of Third Aux 

Early in May, the teams of Meyers and 
Hurwitz were camped with the 51st Field 
Hospital in Leipzig, They were ready for a 
little extracurricular excitement. Smazal 
had an uncle who was chief of police In 
Prague. What was more natural than to 
go to Prague and deliver Third Aux greet- 
ings to the chief? Nobody could take ex- 
ception to that. 

The party consisted of Meyers, Hurwitz, 
Black, Brown, and Smazal. They impressed 
a sleek Mercedes-Benz convertible, added a 
jeep-cum-trailer for the baggage, and drew 
up a tentative route. Their plan was to 
strike south as far as Prague and continue 
from there into the Tyrol. Two days before 
V-E Day, they took off. 

The stare could hardly have been more 
auspicious. The weather was beautiful, the 
road was superb, and the Mercedes was the 
last word in luxurious transportation. From 
Leipzig, the route lay straight south, through 
Alpinburg and Sweetgai and into the Erz 

mountains. Far from any battlefield, this 
was peaceful country with sweeping views 
and colorful panoramas. At Schneeberg, 
the party stopped for lunch. 

"Isn't this the place where everybody is 
supposed to die of cancer of the lung?" asked 

"Maybe so, 11 said Hurwitz. "But these 
people don't look very sickly to me." And 
he motioned towards a group of apple- 
cheeked youngsters who were moving in 
for their share of the K rations. 

The road climbed past Eibenstock and 
Wilderthal and across the divide. Smazal 
looked at his watch. At this rate, they would 
be in Prague for supper. The Mercedes 
swooped down towards the Bohemian pla- 
teau, engine purring sweetly. All seemed 

At Nejdek, they came upon a road block. 
It was manned by a 1st Division unit. Smazal 
stopped the car. 

"^hat goes on, sergeant?*' 

"Sir, this is the front line. We have orders 
to stop all Americans and capture all Ger- 

"Good. We are on a reconnaissance mis- 
sion to Prague. Counterintelligence, You 

"Yes, sir. But you are traveling at your 
own risk," 

The Mercedes started up. The next town 
was Karlsbad. But if the Third Auxers ex- 
pected to slip quietly through this famous 
resort, they had not counted on Czech exub- 

Karlsbad on 6 May was a city on a vol- 
cano. The people knew that the Russians 
were approaching from the east and the 
Americans from the west. Only, they did 
not know who would get there first. Rumors 
were running wild and the mayor had made 
up two different reception committees to be 

3 03 

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prepared for either contingency. His job 
was made more difficult by the presence in 
Karlsbad of thousands of civilian refugees 
and thousands of German soldiers who had 
converged there as a last resort. Vigilantes 
were stationed in strategic locations to re- 
port the first sign of approaching troops. 
Karlsbad was ready. 

If there was any doubt about where 
Czech sympathies lay, this was quickly dis- 
pelled when the Third Aux Mercedes hove 
into view. Within one minute, everybody 
had heard the news ; The Americans are 
here! The suspense was over and the reaction 
was terrific. Everybody who could walk 
poured out into the streets to welcome the 
liberators. Girls threw flowers. Men rushed 
forward, waving flags. A band struck up the 
national anthem. The reception committee 
went into a huddle. The mayor tried to 
make a speech. It was completely drowned 
out in the general bedlam. Karlsbad went 
wild. Even had the Third Auxers wanted 
to, they could not have silenced the demon- 
strations. They were completely over- 

"Who wants to go to Prague now?" said 
Brown. "It could not possibly be better than 
this place," 

"Yes, but we are here under false colors/* 
observed Meyers. "These people think that 
we are the American High Command in- 
stead of a bunch of broken-down docs. We 
are going to get into trouble," 

"Hell with that noise/' came Black, 
"We've fought a long war and we are en- 
titled to a little of the glory. I vote we 

''Cut it out/' said Hurwitz. "We haven't 
got a chance to get out of here. The people 
won't let us. Relax." 

Hurwitz was right. Before the Third 
Auxers could do anything about it, they had 
been escorted to the Schoenbrunn Hotel, a 
magnificent hostelry where an entire floor 

had been reserved for them. A beaming 
maiire d'hotel showed them to their suite. A 
delegation of workers appeared. This was 
followed by the ranking German officer who 
wanted to make surrender negotiations. 
Then came a long line of prominent Karls- 
bad citizens to pay their respects. The Third 
Auxers never got a word in. There was no 
use rowing against the stream. 

There was a knock at the door. It was a 
bellboy with an artistically inscribed card 
which read: 

The city of Karlsbad welcomes its 
American liberators and invites them 
to attend a banquet in their honor at 
the Schoenbrunn Hotel on Sunday 6 
May 1945 at seven o'clock. 

Praise be the Lord 
The Third Auxers looked at one another 
and started straightening their rumpled bat- 
tle jackets. After all, they had to look their 

The banquet was a glittering affair. It 
was attended by local dignitaries, govern- 
ment officials, leaders of the underground, 
the city council, and hundreds of others who 
wanted to jump on the band wagon. Women 
came in the colorful national costume. The 
Third Auxers were seated in the place of 
honor and were kept busy answering toasts 
without end. There were speeches, songs, 
music, and even a sumptuous ballet, put on 
by the members of the Czech Opera Com- 
pany. The celebration rivaled that which 
had been put on for the first Third Auxers 
in Paris. Now, as then, the men kept going 
until they were limp with fatigue and hoarse 
from shouting. Gradually, the party broke 
up. Silence settled once more on the hotel 

At five o'clock, the telephone jangled in 
Black's room. Painfully, he lifted the re- 
ceiver. What he heard was no surprise to 


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"General Black! The Russians are here. 
There must be some mistake. Could you tell 
them to leave?" 

"The Russians ? Why, the im- 

posters! Tell them to wait. I'll take care of 
them in the morning," 

Black hung up. This was no time to start 
haranguing Communists, Moreover , he had 
a terrific headache* ^hy did the Russians 
have to interfere with his sleep? 

In the morning Third Auxers gathered 
in the dining room. The atmosphere was 
ominous. Nobody said a word. A tearful 
chef came in: "The Russians! They have 
stolen all my food. I am ruined!" The man 

The Third Auxers went out into the 
street. There was not a soul to be seen. This 
same city, which had poured its heart out 
only yesterday, now looked like a graveyard* 
It was unbelievable. Slowly, the men made 
their way towards the main square, The first 
Russian they saw was a dead one. He lay 
sprawled on the pavement^ face down. An 
irate citizen had taken justice in his own 

Around the next corner came the noise 
of an engine. It sounded even worse than 
the explosions of the wood- burning vehicles 
of the German army. Presently, the con- 
veyance came into view. It was a German 
Truppenwagen in indescribable condition* 
The tires were flat* The chassis was sprung. 
The cab was partly missing. The body had 
been trussed with baling wire to keep it 
from falling apart. The engine emitted 
great billows of smoke. Stranger yet were 
the occupants: a motley assemblage of vaga- 
bonds in all manner of dress and undress. 
The Third Auxers stood transfixed. "If 
that's the Russian Army, God help us," 
said Smazal. 

The Truppenwagen halted. A great cheer 
arose. The vagabonds jumped out and 
rushed towards the Third Auxers. 

"Americans! Good old Americans! Praise 
be the Lord. We're as good as home now," 

Yes, It was true. These gaunt and dis- 
heveled creatures were American prisoners 
who had been liberated only a few hours 
earlier. They were Air Force men and they 
had been captive for over two years, The 
sight of the Third Auxers made them weep 
with joy. 

There followed a scene that words can- 
not describe. The prisoners wanted to know 
everything at once. They danced and they 
cheered and they sang and some of them 
collapsed from sheer excitement. No won- 
der. They had not eaten for days. The Third 
Auxers gave them their K rations, told them 
where to find the 1st Division patrols, and 
sent them on their way, < The incident had 
made them forget all about their predica- 

At the city hall, the truth was painfully 
evident. The corridors were filled with the 
same petitioners who had welcomed the 
Americans the day before. Only, this time 
they were depressed instead of elated. Fear 
and trepidation marked their faces. The Rus- 
sians had been in Karlsbad just a few hours 
but already there was an atmosphere of 
anxiety and distrust. 

Two towrt of strength: Sceggin* and Piasccki, 


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The commanding general had installed 
himself in the mayor*s office. He was an 
uncouth individual with a glass eye which 
he fixed savagely on the Third Auxers. On 
his right was his second-in-command and 
on his left the commissar. The conversation 
was carried on through an interpreter who 
had a very easy job because the answers were 
all monosyllables. The interview ran some- 
what as follows: 

"These are five American officers who 
are on a mission to Prague. Can they have 
a pass? 


*'Can they stay in Karlsbad to help with 
the evacuation of American prisoners?" 


"What did the General wish to do?" 
"Heraus!" (Throw them out!) 
Completely deflated, the Third Auxers 
went back to the hotel* gathered their be- 
longings, and climbed into the Mercedes, 
This was a sad anticlimax to their trium- 
phant entry. Slowly, the car got under way. 
On the outskirts a little girl threw a kiss 
in the direction of the departing Americans. 
Smazal swallowed hard. This was the coun- 
try of his ancestors. He looked back: 
"The Iron Curtain is ringing down." 

Third Amcc* meet the Rutitoni, Black, the 

Chief af Police, the Dmiien Command**, 
the Commi»»r, end Meyers. 

The war was now rapidly drawing to a 
close. Hitler vanished on 50 April, The 
Russians completed their conquest of Berlin 
on 2 May. The next day, the Germans asked 
for surrender terms, still hoping to salvage 
something out of the ruins. Both the mili- 
tary clique and the Nazi party wanted to 
sidestep responsibility for the disaster that 
had befallen them. Each could envisage 
a situation in which ic would be possible to 
blame the other for Germany's collapse. 
But the Allies were adamant. On 8 May in 
a schoolhouse at Rheims, the official instru- 
ment was signed. The war was over. 

On 23 April, Third Aux Headquarters 
moved to Weimar. Weimar was once the 
center of German culture. Men like Goethe 
and Schiller, Liszt and Herder had made it 
their home and they had left their imprint. 
But in the second World War, Weimar be- 
came noted for an entirely different brand 
of Teutonism; the prison camp at Buchen- 
wald. Here, in an enclosure originally built 
for 8,000, the Germans crowded 60,000 po- 
litical prisoners and gradually exterminated 
them. Third Auxers saw with their own 
eyes how it had been done. It was a spectacle 
of stark misery, utter degradation, and grim 

Shortly after this, the Third Aux lost its 
commanding officer once again: Colonel 
Crisler joined a special First Army task force 
that returned to the States to draw up plans 
for the invasion of Japan. For the better 
part of a year, he had worked unflaggingly 
at two jobs, each one enough to consume the 
entire energies of a less vigorous individual. 
Colonel Crisler was awarded the Legion of 
Merit for his work with the Third Aux. 
The citation read in part: 

"Demonstrating great skill and sound 
judgment, Colonel Joseph A. Crisler capably 
supervised the activities of his auxiliary sur- 
gical group. His superior leadership was re- 
flected in the exceptional work performed 
by his organization in First Army hospitals* 


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Colonel Crisler's extraordinary ability and 
careful attention to detail contributed di- 
rectly to the saving of many lives, reflecting 
highest credit on himself and the military 

He left a niche that was hard to fill. Lieu- 
tenant Colonel Stephen J. Karpenski now 
stepped in. He had joined the Third Aux 
as executive officer in March and quickly 
gained everyone's confidence. It became his 
thankless task to put the Third Aux to bed. 

One of Colonel Karpenski*s first official 
acts was a pleasant one: he selected a batch 
of Third Auxers to be repatriated. High- 
pointers Nelson, Lament, Roberts, Dickson, 
James, and Brown took their leave on 21 
May amid great speculations of what the 
summer would bring for the rest of the 
Group. Redeployment turned out to be a 
process that was not completed until the 

, Te ams now began to converge on Weimar 
in ever increasing numbers and the Third 

Aux presently outgrew its quarters in the 
requisitioned homes on the Belvederer Allee. 
Colonel Karpenski cast about. His eyes fell 
on a choice spot: a military post on the 
north side of the town. The buildings were 
of the permanent type with steam heat, 
modem conveniences, a well-appointed club, 
and all the things that the Third Auxers had 
done without for so long. The move took 
place on 23 May. Suddenly, the men found 
themselves in the lap of luxury. And they / 
liked it. (jU^i U&uv * S* 

Once more, Third Auxers roamed the 
highways and byways. There was much to 
see, Within easy traveling distance of Wei- 
mar were such spots as the optjc^l_works^ 
of Jena, the china factories at Dresden, the 
beer breweries of Pilsen, the V-2 plants at 
Nordhausen, the historic Wartburg at Eise- 
nach, the famous university of Gottingen, 
the religious shrine at Konnereuth, and many 
others. Those who could scrounge trans- 
portation for more than a day ventured into 

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Thii ii what Third Auxtn taw at Buchenwald. 


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Lieutenonr Colonel Stephen Katptnlfci, laft 
commanding officer of Hi* Third Aux. 

southern Bavaria, the Tyrolean Alps, Berch- 
tesgaden, and points south. Travel was a 
pleasure, courtesy of Adolph Hitler. The 
Autobahn was a magic carpet. It was not 
only a great engineering feat but also a 
great panoramic achievement. It gave the 

traveler wings and showed him a bird's eye 
view of what was still the most beautiful 
country in the world. As one Third Auxer 
put it: "This is to live again/* 

On 7 June, the Third Aux celebrated its 
thirtieth month overseas with a lavish party* 
In reality, this party marked a number of 
milestones, It was three years since the Group 
was born. It was the anniversary of D Day. 
It was the last time the Group would be 
together in anything resembling its original 
form* And it was the end of an era. The 
accomplished its mission. 

Third Aux had 
Now was the time to sit back and let every- 
body share in the glory. 

The festivities started with a cocktail 
party, continued with an elaborate dinner, 
and culminated in a bal champetre under 
the moonlit sky of a midsummer night. 
Major Coffin was master of ceremonies, 
Major Adams was in charge of arrange- 
ments, and Captain D'Allessandro was re- 
sponsible for the decorations which revolved 
around the number 30. These men had done 
themselves proud. They had secured a num- 
ber of civilian waiters, an excellent orches- 
tra, an unlimited supply of liquor, and even 

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a corps of professional entertainers. Such 
features would not seem spectacular to peo- 
ple who had never been away from home, 
but to Third Auxers, who had lived in mud 
and dust for thirty long months, they were 
fantastic. This was indeed the end of an era. 
Old-timers said: "Pinch me. It's too good 
to be true," 

During the remaining weeks at Weimar, 
the Third Aux tried hard to get back to a 
garrison existence. The men were admon- 
ished to wear proper uniforms, to sign in 
and out, to police the quarters, and to watch 
all those long-forgotten punctilios, Profile 
examinations got under way, point scores 
were adjusted, specification numbers were 
juggled, redeployment was discussed from 
all angles, but when all was said and done, 
Third Auxers were still very much at sea. 
In the absence of definite information, many 
men asked for leave. It was the next best 
thing to going home. The requests were 
granted liberally and the Third Aux was 

already well combed out when the imminent 
arrival of the Russians made a withdrawal 
to the west necessary. 

T he new site was Giessen, an hour's drive 
north of FrankTurt. TTFTe~"war had dealt 
harshly with Giessen. There were no build- 
ings left that were large enough to house 
the Group and Colonel Karpenski decided 
to go back to tents. On 4 July, Headquar- 
ters made its thirtieth and last move. 

For all its lack of urban facilities, the 
Giessen camp offered many compensations. 
It had lots of trees, lovely views, and a fine 
swimming pool. It also had plenty of field 
mice. As soon as the pick-and -shovel work 
was out of the way, Third Auxers again 
concentrated on leisurely living. They or- 
ganized a ball team, they basked in the warm 
sunshine, and they built a colorful social 
center out of discarded parachutes. Many 
other units moved into the area. The nurses 
added the homey touch. Everybody relaxed. 

Shortly after their arrival in Giessen, 

The Autobahn wai not only an engineering Nat but *!•# a panoramic achievement. 


Third Auxers had good news. The Green 
Project got under way. Thousands of med- 
ical officers were flown home. The old guard 
dwindled rapidly. 

And so it came to pass, one beautiful day 
in July, that the Third Aux passed out of 
existence. The death knell was a War De- 
partment order that changed the name to 
896th Professional Services Group. Immed- 
iately plans got under way to provide a 
burial with full military honors. 

The preparations were made in great 
secrecy. Ostensibly, there was to be simply 
a last get-together. But the crowd that gath- 
ered under the awnings of the patio and the 
billowing canvas of the dance floor soon 
realized the presence of a weird and sinister 
object. At first, they tried to ignore it. 
They laughed and joked, drank and danced, 
sang and frolicked just as they had at so 
many other Third Aux parties* And yet, 
underneath it was different* Gradually the 
lights went lower and lower. Gradually con- 
versation changed from boisterous to hushed 
tones. Gradually the atmosphere reflected 
a certain tenseness, a certain uneasiness, a 
certain gloom. What was this darkened, 
shapeless mass that cast its death-like spell? 
Suddenly, a hidden spotlight brought its 
outlines into sharp relief. A catafalquej_ 

At the stroke of twelve, the music died 
down. Instinctively, the dancers cleared the 
floor. Muted brass intoned Chopin's funeral 
march. A reverent and silent figure came 
forward. Taking up a position by the side 
of the catafalque^ he bowed his head as in 
prayer. The crowd followed his example. 
The re was a moment when everybody 
searched his s oul. Yhe 'i hird Aux was being' 
laid to _rest * And every TErct Auxer put 
to rest a part of himself. 

Then, the silence was broken. In rich, 
sonorous tones, Brattesani recited the hymn 
that had been composed especially for the 
occasion by Ruth Maher. Speaking above 
the plaintive melody of "The Night Paddy 
Murphy Died/' the man who had followed 
the fortunes of the Third Aux from infancy 
to old age delivered these impious lines: 

Twas the night the Third Aux died; 

The wake I'll ne'er forget 

The whole damn crowd was roaring drunk 

And some ain't sober yet. 

As long as the bottle was passed around 

The crowd they always stayed, 

And Third Depot brought their saxes 

The music there to play. 

I 3 


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The festivities started with a cocktail party. 


■L J t 

MS* * 

Bal champctrc. 

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Now the old Third Aux sat in the corner 

Drinking out its grief. 

Along came the eight, nine, six 

The dirty rotten thief 

And out into the bar 

And a bottle of liquor he stole 

And put the liquor in the pool 

To keep the liquor cold. 

Now the crowd grew mighty frisky 
And everyone jumped in, 
Then someone popped the champagne 

And made a lot of din. 
But the funniest thing I e'er did see 
That made me jump with fear 
When they took the ice right off the food 
And put it on the beer. 


That's how they showed 

Respect for the Third Aux; 

That's how they showed 

Their honor and their pride. 

They said it was a shame for poor old Aux, 

And they winked at one another. 

Everything in the whole club went 

The night the Third Aux died. 

When the last strains had died away in 
the stillness of the night, Brattesani called 
on the pallbearers: Ronald Adams, Hollis 
Brainard, Clifford Graves, Ed Kirby, Rocco 
Telia, and Mark Williams. Next came the 
honor guard: Eleanor Bernick, Peggy Ba- 
ker, Mary Fedor, Ruth Maher, Marie Miller, 
and Edna Parker. Finally, two honorary 
pallbearers took their places: Stephen Kar- 
penski and Irene Doty. Once again the or- 
chestra went into the funeral march. Slowly, 
the pallbearers lift ed the casket^ The cortege 
got under way'.* - & 

Outside, on the gentle slope of a Taunus 
hill was a freshly dug grave. Torchbearers 
marked the site. The pallbearers lowered the 
casket. Colonel Karpenski came forward: 

"Fellows of the Third Aux. You have 
gathered here to bury an organization with 
a remarkable record. The Third Aux has 
been a severe taskmaster. It has carried us 
far from our homes. It has exposed us to 
great danger. It has called upon every ounce 
of our strength. But it has given us as much 
as it has taken. It has broadened our vision, 
steeled our nerves, opened our hearts, and 
matured our minds. The Third Aux was 
great because you made it great. Requiescat 
in pace." 

At this point Captain Kirby spoke: "Let 
us inscribe the record with the names of 
those who stood by their patients in defiance 
of capture and death. We do not know the 
fate of the men who were lost in the Battle 
of the Bulge, Perhaps they have been saved. 
Perhaps they have been killed. But whatever 
has happened to them, the Third Aux is 
proud of them. We, who came through un- 
scathed, pay homage to those who fell. Let 
us observe one minute of silence." 

A rombfton* wqi ploced oycf the grave. 

r c 312 

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No one can record the thoughts that 
passed through the minds of those Third 
Auxers. Communal living had knitted them 
close. Pride of achievement was over- 
shadowed by sorrow of parting. "Partir, 
c'est mourir un peu." 

A tombstone was placed over the grave: 
Here lie the remains of 
Born — 5 May 1942, Fort Sam Houston, 

Died — 31 July 1945, Giessen, Germany 
Age — 3 years, 2 months, 26 days 
Cause of death — -Acute Nostalgia 
Major Adams supplied the epitaph: 
May you rest in peaceful slumber 
For we've got another number; 
Different too is now the name, 
God grant the T/O ain't the same. 

The career of the 98£th Professional Serv- 
ices Group was anticlimatic. One by one, 
officers, nurses, and men were transferred. 
The man who put the organization to bed 
was Lieutenant Hansen, Sensenbach's suc- 
cessor. Towards the end of September, when 
only a skeleton crew remained, he took his 
force to nearby Alsfeld. Here, on 12 Octo- 
ber, the 896th was officially deactivated and 
all property disposed of. The only tangible 
remains of the Third Aux are the annual 
reports in the Surgeon General's Office and 
the payroll vouchers in the St, Louis Records 

The piecemeal repatriation of the Third 
Aux was not without its tragi-comedy. The 
surrender of Japan brought havoc with re- 
deployment schedules. Units that were al- 
ready en route were recalled. Others were 
dissolved overnight. Staging areas were 
jammed. Individuals got lost. Almost every 
Third Auxer ran into delays, with the ex- 
ception of those who went home on the 
Green Project, The stories of Telia and 
Campbell are typical. 

Telia was an old-timer in the Third Aux 
but, like all anesthetists, he had been frozen 
in the rank of captain. This was a great 
injustice which Colonel Karpenski wanted 
to correct as soon as possible. In July, he 
transferred Telia to the Fifth Aux because 
the Fifth Aux was to go immediately to the 
Pacific by way of the United States. Telia 
could then be dropped off at home as a high- 
pointer. Telia was overjoyed. He whipped 
his baggage together, jumped in a jeep, and 
raced to Fifth Aux Headquarters. 

"Captain Telia reporting, sir." 

"Ah you are Telia. Good. We are 

taking off for Marseille in a few days." 

"Marseille? I thought that you were going 
by way of the States!" 

"Oh no! We go through the Suez Canal, 
Don't bother to unpack." 

Telia went into a cold sweat. His jeep 
was still standing oucside. He highballed 
back to Giessen, But Colonel Karpenski 
could do nothing. Technically, Telia was 
already a Fifth Auxer. 

Telia rushed to Frankfurt, "Don't 
worry," he was told. "We'll transfer you to 
the 168th General in England. If you hurry 
you can just make it," 

Telia took a plane but he missed the 168th 
by a few hours. Back to Frankfurt he went. 
The officer who had handled his orders had 
himself been transferred, but another good 
Samaritan had taken his place: "That's too 
bad, Captain. But we'll fix it. Go to the 
191st General. That's in Paris. With your 
score, you'll be on your way in no time." 

Telia dashed to Paris and reported to the 
adjutant at the 191st. 

"When do we go home?" 

"Home? We Ye not going home. This is 
an Army of Occupation outfit! We're leav- 
ing for Germany in a few days!" 

Telia was near collapse. He was farther 
from home than ever. This would never do. 
But he had a good friend at ETOUSA Head- 


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quarters. Colonel Pisani would help him. 
Pisani listened sympathetically, "The 166th 
General is getting ready to sail from Le 
Havre," he said. "Well write orders right 

This sounded like the real thing. Alas, 
when Telia arrived in Le Havre, the 1 66th 
had just been instructed to go to Marseille. 
Marseille was at the wrong end of France. 
At this point, Telia decided to take matters 
in his own hands. 

He returned to Paris, went to Green 
Project Headquarters, and said that he want- 
ed to go home. He was on his way the next 

Campbell fared even worse. With three 
year overseas, he had a point-score well in 
excess of the critical level. Accordingly, on 
1J August he received orders to report to 
the 18 1st General Hospital at Mourmelon. 
His commanding officer greeted him 

"Ah Major Campbell f You are 

our new chief of surgery. We need you. 
We are very busy just now." 

"Busy? I thought this hospital was going 

"Oh no. We are going to the Pacific. 3 ' 

"But I have 120 points!" 

"HI get your orders changed. Meanwhile 
you go to work.* 1 

It took a full three weeks to get Camp- 
bell's orders changed. The new orders said 
that he was to go to the 50th General at 
Verdun. This hospital too was in full oper- 
ation but at least it was supposed to go home 
soon. Campbell sweated out another two 

The SOth General was Instructed to re- 
port to Marseille. From Verdun to Marseille 
was a two-day trip in rickety, smelly, drafty 
coaches. Campbell took his punishment 
stoically. After all, there was a ship waiting 
in Marseille. 

Far from it. At the staging area, the 5 Oth 

General was swallowed up in a sea of wait- 
ing troops. Interminably, the days dragged 
on. The camp was disgracefully crowded 
and the daily routine consisted of lining up 
at the mess, at the Px, and even at the la- 
trines. Campbell estimates that he spent ap- 
proximately three hours a day in line. "See 
the chaplain/' was the standard answer to 

Towards the end of September, a special 
order came out. The hospital would sail but 
all the officers were to return immediately 
to Paris! The officers went into open revolt. 
Another two days on the train? Unthink- 
able! They sent word to the Base Section 
Surgeon that they refused! 

The Surgeon hurried over. He had a rough 
time of it but he finally convinced the re- 
calcitrants that their return to Paris was 
simply to get them on the Green Project. 
There was a sigh of relief. Maybe they would 
get home after all. 

The trip back to Paris was a repetition 
of the one to Marseille. Two days of stand- 
ing in the breeze and munching K rations. 
The train arrived on 30 September, the last 
day of the Project. The officers hurried to 

"You are too late," they were told. "The 
only thing you can do is to go to Le Havre 
and sweat out your turn." 

The men blew up. They threatened to 
send the story to the Paris Herald Tribune. 
They threatened to call the Inspector Gen- 
eral. They threatened to send a telegram to 
every senator in Washington. And they got 
action. A General from Redeployment hur- 
ried over. He listened to the tale of woe. 
And he promised that the Green Project 
would be extended. The men said: "We 
won't believe it until we see the planes," 

But the planes did keep flying and Camp- 
bell arrived home early in October. He still 
considers his last two months in the ETO 
as the greatest snafu of his career. 


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The Third Aux handled a grand total of 
about 2 5,000 casualties. This compares as 
follows with the other auxiliary surgical 

Second Auxiliary Surgical Group 
Fourth Auxiliary Surgical Group 
Fifth Auxiliary Surgical Group 
First Auxiliary Surgical Group 
* (estimated) 

The work of the Third Aux breaks down 
as follows: 

Tunisian campaign ?43 

Sicilian campaign 1,446 

European campaign 13,385 

2I t 274 

To this must be added the work done by 
the teams of Crandall and Horace G. Wil- 
liams which were never able to report. Each 
team had approximately 1,000 cases. The 
specialty teams account for another 1>000 
cases. Still another 1,000 cases were lost be- 
cause of shifts in team leaders and various 
clerical errors. 

For purposes of analysis, the cases that 
were done in Tunisia and Sicily should be 
excluded because in those two campaigns 
the field hospital did not yet function ex- 
clusively as a first-priority hospital, The 
remaining 18,88 5 case records can be used 
to give an accurate picture of the work of 
the Third Aux. They supply information 
on three points of interest; 

A. The type of installation in which the work 
was done. 

B. The kind of surgery that was done in these 

C. The number of patients per team. 

A. The type of installation in which the 
work was done. 
Third Aux teams worked in four different 
types of installations: 

The beach clearing stations. 
The field hospitals. 
The evacuation hospitals. 

The field hospitals acting as evacuation hospitals. 
(This refers to the brief period in September 
1 944 when field hospitals were pressed into 
service to do both first-priority and second- 
priority work.) 

The breakdown is as follows: 

In the beach clearing stations 722 cases or 4*/r 

In the field hospitals 7,82? cases or 41$ 

In the evacuation hospitals 8,06? cases or 4J f /f 

In the modified field hospital s 2,26 5 cases or 12$ 

18,885 100$ 

It will be seen from these figures that 
the teams did almost the same number of 
cases in field hospitals as in evacuation hos- 
pitals. This might give the erroneous im- 
pression that the teams spent about as much 
time in one hospital as the other. Actually, 
they spent about 80 per cent of their time in 
field hospitals and 20 per cent in evacuation 
hospitals. The explanation is that the field 
hospital operations were almost entirely long, 
difficult jobs whereas many of the evacuation 
hospital operations were comparatively short 
and simple, The average time for a field 
hospital operation was two and a half hours, 
the average time for an evacuation hospital 
operation was much less. Consequently the 
7,829 field hospital cases represent vastly 
more work and time than the 8,069 evacu- 
ation hospital cases. 


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B. The kind of surgery. 

An over-all breakdown of the 18,88 5 
cases shows the following: 

Debridements, including compound 

fractures 13,3 89 

Abdominal operations 3,414 

Thoracic operations 2,018 

Thoracoabdominal operations 824 

Amputations and disarticulations 757 

Genitourinary operations 167 

Operations on the neck 104 

Burns 12Q 


Thus, 18,885 patients had 20,77$ oper- 
ations. The explanation is that many pa- 
tients had multiple wounds. 

The great difference between field hos- 
pital surgery and evacuation hospital surgery 
is well illustrated in the following figures* 

In the field hospitals the teams did; 

Abdominal cases 2,JJ8 31% 

Thoracic 1,595 20%. 

Thoracoabdominal cases 632 9% 

Other cases 2.994 40 % 

7,820 100% 

In the evacuation hospitals, the teams did: 

Abdominal cases 
Thoracic cases 
Thoracoabdominal cases 
Other cases 



7,2 S3 




cases are 

When abdominal and 
lumped together, they are seen to account 
for the work in the various installations as 

In the field hospitals 61*/? 

In the beach clearing stations 30'/J 

In the modified field hospitals 18';; 

In the evacuation hospitals I0T? 

These figures speak for themselves. 
In the following table, the 18,88 5 patients 
are grouped together according to the nature 
of the surgery. This table was devised to 
record the number and kind of operations 
rather than the regional distribution of the 
wounds or the mortality figures. For in- 
stance, all debridements are lumped together, 
regardless of site. Another thing to be kept 
in mind is that the table records not only 
the number of operations but also the num- 

ber of patients* One patient may have had 
several operations and appear under various 
headings. Consequently, the sum of the parts 
is larger than the whole (18,885 patients 
had 21,260 operations}* 

The figures are remarkably parallel with 
those given by the Second Auxiliary Sur- 
gical Group* 

D-Day to V-E Day 

Total number of patients 18,885 

CHEST Number of patients 2,018 

Closure of sucking wound . I f l08 

Thoracotomy 9 1 o 

Exploration and aspiration 293 

Suture of the lung 354 

Removal of foreign body 265 

Resection of lung tissue 3S> 

Miscellaneous %J 

ABDOMEN Number of patients 3,414 

Closure of gastrointestinal perforations 1,437 

Colostomy or exteriorization 1 t 160 

Resection of small gut J97 

Exploration only 543 

Operations on the liver JQ4 

Operations on the urinary bladder 288 

Acute inflammatory conditions 275 

Splenectomy ijy 

Nephrectomy %j 

Operations on the biliary tract 72 

Ileocolostomy 57 

Operations on the ureter 6 

Number of patients 824 

Through the thoracotomy approach 54 1 

Suture of the diaphragm 5 00 

Splenectomy ]qjj 

Closure of gastrointestinal perforations 61 

Through the laparotomy approach 34$ 

Suture of the diaphragm ]78 

Exploration only £] 

Operations on abdominal organs 307 

GENITOURINARY Number of patients 167 

Nephrectomy 24 

Repair of urethra j*> 

Miscellaneous 1 ig 

NECK Number of patients 104 

Tracheotomy 54 

Operations an pharynx or esophagus 4 5 

DEBRIDEMENTS Number of patients 13,3 89 
Major 7^42 

Minor 8,035 


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Number of patients 737 

Knee and leg 433 

Hip and thigh 183 

Shoulder and upper arm 103 

Elbow and forearm 102 

Number of patients 487 

Suture or anastomosis 107 

Major ligations $62 
Number of patients with sympathetic 

biock 340 

BURNS Number of patients 120 

Number of patients 3,490 

Full leg 1,H2 

Hip spica 958 

Plaster Vclpeau 750 

Shoulder spica 290 

ANESTHESIA Number of patients 17,137 

Inhalation 6,367 

With intubation 4,617 

Without intubation 1,750 

Intravenous 9,523 

Block and local 994 

Spinal 253 

Bronchoscope aspirations 1,306 

Imposing as these figures are, they tell 
only part of the story. They list only oper- 
ations. They do not list the huge amount 
of preoperative and postoperative work* For 
instance, in the section on thoracic wounds 
the patients are listed only if they had a 
thoracotomy or closure of a sucking wound. 
Nothing is said about those who were treat- 
ed by aspiration, bronchoscopy, nerve block, 
and all the other resuscitarive measures. If 
these were included, the total number of 
patients would be considerably larger than 

In the tabulation of anesthetics, the total 
number of patients is only 17,137, This is 
because certain teams were unable to supply 
information on this point. The small num- 
ber of spinal anesthetics is of note. It indi- 
cates that most of the anesthetists considered 
the patients as poor risks, at least as far as 
abdominal casualties were concerned. The 
difficulties of operating on such casualties 
without the benefit of good relaxation are 

well known. Under the conditions at the 
field hospital, each laparotomy was a tour 
dc force. 

The 1,306 bronchoscope aspirations on a 
total of 2,018 chest patients are an interest- 
ing index of the type of work that went on 
in the field hospital. It has already been 
pointed out how most Third Aux anesthe- 
tists became expert bronchoscopists. 
C. Number of cases per team. 

Altogether, 28 teams are listed h tc. They 
were not all operational at the same time 
however. Until December, there were 2 5 
teams. Afterwards, the number dropped 
to 23, As a result of the reshuffle that oc- 
curred in December, 12 teams were altered 
or, in some cases, dropped. The other 16 
were continuously active. Most of the low 
scores in the list are contributed by the 
12 "discontinuous" teams. 


Douw S. Meyers 



James J. Whitsitt 



Paul K. Maloney 



Benjamin R. Reitcr 

] T 043 


James M. Higginbotham 



Darrcll A Campbell 



Robert M. Sutton 



Allen M. Bovden 



Mark H. Williams 



EdwTiT M. Soderstrom 



Francis M, Findlay 



Marion E. Black 



Wilson Wcisel 



Frank Wood 



Glenn W\ Zcidcrs 



Clifford L. Graves 



John B, Peyton 



Louis W. Stoller 



Silas A. Coffin 



Philip F, Partington 



Alfred Hurwitz 



Robert M. Coffey 



Reynold E. Church 



Charles A. Serbst 



Howard W. Brettcll 



Thomas J. Floyd }r 



John P. Sheldon 



Ronald W. Adams 



Horace G< Williams 



Albert J. Crandall 





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The average for the 16 
teams was 814. 


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When the teams are arranged according 
to the number of cases they did at the field 
hospitals, the list is as follows: 





or Douw S. Meyers 
or Benjamin R. Reiter 
or Mark H. Williams 
or Edwin M. Soderstrom 
or Reynold E. Church 
or Frank Wood 
or John B. Peyton 
or Darrell A. Campbell 
or Silas A. Coffin 
or Robert M. Sutton 

jor Glenn WTZeicIers 
jor Alfred Hurwitz 
jor James J. Whitsitt 
jor Allen M. Boyden 
jor Louis W. Stoller 
jor James M. Higginbotham 
jor Robert M. Coffey 
jor Charles A. Serbst 
jor Francis M. Findlay 
jor Howard W. Brettell 
jor Clifford L. Graves 
jor Thomas J. Floyd jr 
jor Marion E. Black 
jor Philip F. Partington 
jor Wilson Weisel 
jor Paul K. Moloney 
jor John P. Sheldon 
jor Ronald W b Adams 
The average for the 1 6 M 
teams is 560. 






When the teams are arranged according 

to the number of cases they did in evacua- 
tion hospitals, the list is as follows: 

Major Paul K. Maloney 1,080 

Major James J, Whitsitt 6 SO 

Major Marion E. Black $66 

Major Allen M, Boyden 526 

Major Clifford L. Graves 494 

Major James M> Higginbotham 486 

Major Wilson Weisel 405 

Major Robert M. Sutton 3 84 

Major Douw S. Meyers 3 34 

Major Darrell A. Campbell 331 

Major Francis M. Findlay 3 IS 




The ave 

teams is 3 1 

Mark H. Williams 
Frank Wood 
Robert M. Coffey 
John B. Peyton 
Louis W, Stoller 
Edwin M, Soderstrom 
Philip F. Partington 
Silas A. Coffin 
Benjamin R. Reiter 
Thomas F. Floyd Jr 
Alfred Hurwitz 
Glenn W. /eiders 
Howard W. Brettell 
Charles A* Serbst 
Ronald W. Adams 
Reynold E. Church 
John P. Sheldon 

rage for the \6 












Weisel ' 





























Coffin 80 





3 8 






















































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The average record for the 16 "contin- 
uous" teams is: 

Number of abdominal cases 163 

Number of chest cases 89 

Number of thoracoabdominal* }6 

Number of other cases J26 

Total ITT 


There were two teams in the European 
campaign. Team No, 1 was headed by 
Major Walter G. Haynes until January 194 J 
and then by Major Fred W b Geib. Team 
No, 2 was headed by Captain Donald D. 
Matsen. Practically all the work was done 
at the evacuation hospitals. The figures are 
as follows: 

Pert wounds Comp Skuil 

of the brain fractures Laminectomies 
Team No. 1 344 127 76 

Team No. 2 1?2 6S 2 3 

During the first six months of the Eu- 
ropean campaign the Group functioned 
mainly with one team. This was headed 
alternately by Major Jacob J. Longacre and 
Captain George A, Friedman. In December 
1944, a second team took the field under 
Major George W, McLoughlin, 

Maxillofacial cases are difficult to list cate- 
gorically because no two of them are alike. 
Suffice it to say that Team No. 1 handled 
572 cases and Team No. 2 166. Practically 
all the work was done at evacuation hos- 


The x-ray teams functioned at first with 
evacuation hospitals and later with the 9 1st 
Gas-Treatment Battalion. They were head- 
ed by Captain Robbins, Captain Howard G. 
Bayley and Captain Donald Linck. 

The figures are as follows: 

No. of 

No. of 

No, of 

No. of 




Op Jays 

Team No, 1 

7,77 S 




Team No. 2 





Team No. 3 





There were three dental prosthetic teams 
under Major John R. Krampert, Major John 
B, Hemminger, and Major George A. Hut- 
ter. The teams functioned collectively as a 
dental clinic under the jurisdiction of the 
Army Dental Surgeon. The Third Auxiliary 
Surgical Group had administrative but not 
professional control, Therefore a statistical 
summary is omitted. 

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There were five auxiliary surgical groups. 
All went to Europe; none to the Pacific, 

Once committed, the units were assigned 
as follows: 

First Aux — Communications zone in 
France, Fifteenth Army in Germany* 

Second Aux — IT Corps in Tunisia and 
Sicily, Fifth Army in Italy, Seventh 
Army in France and Germany, 

Third Aux — -II Corps in Tunisia and 

Sicily, First Army in Franc e, Belgium , 
and Germany; 

Fourth Aux — Third Army in France and 

Fifth Aux — Ninth Army in Holland and 

Since all these groups had much to do 
with front line surgery, a little more will 
be said about each of them. 


The First Aux was activated on 20 De- 
cember 1942 at Fort Sam Houston, three 
weeks after the Third Aux left that post. 
It was under the command of Colonel Clin- 
ton S. Lyter. 

The Group arrived in England on 2 5 Sep- 
tember 1943 and was assigned to Services of 
Supply. It was not until the very end of the 
war in Europe that the First Aux was as- 
signed to a field army. The Group did send 
a detachment of eight teams to the Third 
Aux soon after D Day in Normandy and 
these teams remained under Third Aux con- 
trol during most of the campaign. The First 
Aux sent similar detachments to the other 
auxiliary surgical groups. In addition, three 
teams were attached to XVIII Airborne 
Corps for Operation Market. One team was 
attached to the 17th Airborne Division for 
the cross-Rhine operation, 

Headquarters remained in England until 
3 November 1944 and then moved to Paris. 
The First Aux remained a Communications 
Zone unit until 18 April 194 J when it was 
assigned to Fifteenth Army, 

The Group did not tabulate its work dur- 
ing 1944. From 1 January 1945 to 12 June 
194S, the teams reported the following 

Abdominal cases 


Thoracic cases 


Thoracoabdominal cases 



4,3 5 3 

Cranial cases 


Maxillofacial cases 


Miscellaneous cases 





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The Second Aux was activated on 10 
April 1942 ac Lawson General Hospital in 
Atlanta, Georgia. It was under the com- 
mand of Colonel James H. Forsee. 

The Group went overseas in two detach- 
ments and a main body. 

The first detachment was made up of two 
general surgical teams, one shock team, and 
one orthopedic team. These teams sailed 
from New York on 2$ September 1942, ar- 
rived in Ireland on 4 October, left Ireland 
on 24 October, and landed at Surkouf near 
Oran on I ! November. The teams eventual- 
ly proceeded to Tunisia where they oper- 
ated alongside the Third Aux teams. Their 
experiences have already been related. 

The second detachment was made up of 
eight general surgical teams, three ortho- 
pedic teams, and three shock teams. These 
teams sailed from New York on 2 Novem- 
ber 1942 and arrived at Casablanca on 19 
November, There was very little work at 
Casablanca and the teams stagnated with 
the 8th Evacuation Hospital until the main 
body arrived. 

The main body sailed from New York on 
28 February 1943 and landed at Casablanca 
on 9 March. It remained there until 20 
March and then moved to Rabat In French 
Morocco, It stayed in Rabat till 10 May. 
During this time, the Second Aux deployed 
a good many of its teams with British hos- 
pitals, very much as the Third Aux. The 
only teams to go forward were those of the 
first detachment which had been reinforced 
to three general surgical teams, one ortho- 
pedic team, and two shock teams. 

On 23 May, the Second Aux moved to 
Ain el Turck near Oran and on 4 July it 
moved to Constantine, 

The Second Aux sent seven surgical teams 
to Sicily, These worked alongside the twelve 
Third Aux teams. 

Second Aux teams landed at Salerno, 
Italy on D Day, 9 September 1943, They 
also participated in the landings at Anzio 
on 22 January 1944. In this operation, the 
Second Aux lost one officer and one enlisted 
man when the British hospital carrier St, 
David went down. On 10 February, the 
33rd Field Hospital at Anzio was shelled and 
one of the Second Aux nurses was killed. 

Second Aux teams landed with Seventh 
Army in southern France on D Day, IS 
August, 1944. From here on, the Second 
Aux operated in two sections, one with Fifth 
Army and one with Seventh Army. 

At the end of the wax all the teams were 
recalled to Headquarters in northern Italy, 
and on 22 August 1945 the Group was de- 

The Second Aux handled a total of ap- 
proximately 22,000 cases. 

Abdominal cases 3,154 

Thoracic cases 1,364 

Thoracoabdominal cases 903 
Amputations & disarticulations 1,131 

Compound fractures S,43 S 

Cranial injuries 574 

Maxillofacial 276 

Vascular injuries 480 

Debridements 8,680 

Total 22,000 

The Second Aux published its experiences 
in a book entitled "Forward Surgery of the 
Severely Wounded/* This is a collection of 
articles dealing with the technical aspects of 
surgery in the field hospitals. It is a very 
complete work running to almost 900 pages. 
It is undoubtedly one of the most unusual 
medical documents to come out of the war. 

The Fourth Aux was activated on 21 Jan- 
uarv 1943 at Lawson General Hospital in 


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Atlanta, Georgia, It was under the com- 
mand of Colonel H. A. Kind, 

The Group sailed from New York on 7 
April 1944 and arrived in England on 19 
April. Soon afterwards it was attached to 
Third Army, 

It was the Fourth Aux that furnished the 
teams for Detachment A and B, These 
teams were landed on Omaha and Utah on 
D plus 2. They did yeoman duty in helping 
the hard-pressed Third Aux teams. 

Fourth Aux teams arrived in Normandy 
in various echelons. They functioned under 
Third Aux control until 1 9 July when 
Fourth Aux Headquarters arrived on the 
Continent. Third Army became operational 
on I August and the Fourth Aux remained 
with it throughout the rest of the campaign. 

Two Fourth Aux teams were flown to 
Bastogne on 26 December. These teams 
landed by glider, not far from the German 
lines. On the same day, the 4th Armored 
Division broke through and the teams did 
little more than prepare the casualties for 
evacuation, Six Fourth Auxers received Sil- 
ver Stars for this exploit. 

Two Fourth Aux teams were attached to 
XVIII Airborne Corps for the cross-Rhine 
operation on 24 March. They landed by 
glider. Three Fourth Aux men were shot 
down as they alighted. All were killed. 

The Fourth Aux statistics are not broken 
down according to the usual plan and it is 
a little difficult to compare them with those 

of the other 


liary surgical groups. The 

figures are as 






General Surg 








1,71 J 






2 t 9S9 















The Fifth Aux was activated on 26 April 
1944 at Fort Sam Houston under Colonel 
Robert Hill who was later replaced by Colo- 
nel Elmer D. Gay. 

The Group arrived in England on 29 July 
1944 and in France on 28 August 1944. It 
was then attached to Ninth Army which 
was active in central France. The teams 
saw their first action in the Brest campaign 
which lasted from 2 5 August till 20 Sep- 

Ninth Army was then shifted to the Sieg- 
fried Line and cook up position north of 
First Army. It entered combat in the mid- 
dle of October. The Fifth Aux followed in 
the wake of this Army during the rest of 
the campaign. Some Fifth Aux teams also 
served with Fifth Army. 

The work of the Fifth Aux has been esti- 
mated only. The figures suggest that it did 
approximately one-third as much field hos- 
pital surgery as the Third Aux. 

Abdominal cases 1,000 

Thoracic cases 1,000 

Thoracoabdominal cases $00 

Maxillofacial cases 


I s 


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The Second World War was a titanic 
struggle. In six years of world-wide fight- 
ing, the belligerent nations mobilized nearly 
100 million men and women. Of these, 15 
million were killed and € million were dis- 
abled. The United States alone mobilized 
over 10 million and suffered well over a 
million casualties. The total cost of the war 
has been estimated at l,J00 billion dollars 
of which 300 billion was paid by Americans. 
Such figures transcend comprehension. 

In a war that cost millions of lives and 
billions of dollars, the contribution of each 
individual becomes infinitesimal. So small, 
that no participant can say more than: **Yes, 
I was there too." Of the countless thousands 
who were there, very few saw the immediate 
result of their labors. Third Auxers were 
among these favored few. 

The start was inauspicious. The auxiliary 
surgical groups were paper units when the 
war broke out. They were new T experimen- 
tal, and anomalous. Nobody knew what to 
do with them. Even the planners in Wash- 
ington did not have a clear idea. Conse- 
quently, many errors were made. These were 
errors both of judgment and of execution. 
Let the record speak. 

In December of 1942, the Third Aux was 
rushed overseas to take part in an invasion 
that did not come off for eighteen months. 
There were enough surgeons in the Group to 

staff a whole field army. In those days, 
America had only a few divisions in the field. 
All that was needed overseas was a small pilot 
force of teams to test the new ideas and pre- 
pare the ground. Such a pilot force did find 
its way to Tunisia. It consisted of three 
Third Aux and five Second Aux teams. Even 
in Sicily, the needs were modest. Half of 
one auxiliary surgical group could have car- 
ried on. 

The men who stayed in England fared 
badly. Their training was interrupted. Their 
talents were fallow. Their promotions were 
blocked. Their presence created friction, 
resentment, and ill will. They were maver- 
icks, rebels, interlopers. Without a plan for 
deployment or a table of equipment, they 
simply floundered. 

It is usually held that medical units should 
be mobilized early so that they can spend 
their time in training. This may apply to 
hospitals but it certainly does not apply to 
auxiliary surgical groups. The only way to 
train such a group is in an operating room. 
There were no operating rooms for the 
Third Aux in England. It was very waste- 
ful to have all these men on the ground a 
year and a half before they were needed. 

The mobile surgical units are another ex- 
ample of misdirected energy. While the 
depots in the United States worked fran- 
tically to get the units ready, First Army in 


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England did not even know about themf 
This was a great pity. The units would have 
been a godsend on the beach. They were 
compact, maneuverabie, and self-sufficient. 
As it was, supplies arrived on the beach in 
different echelons and at different points. 
One truck was no good without another. 
On Omaha, clearing stations waited a full 
three days for their equipment. The units 
would have filled this gap admirably. When 
they finally did arrive, the need for them 
had passed. 

And yet, these errors are far outweighed 
by the achievements. 

Foremost among these achievements was 
the development of a new specialty: front- 
line surgery. In the First World War, there 
had been no clear demarcation between first- 
priority and second-priority surgery. In the 
Second World War, these two categories 
were separated, both In time and in place. 

The other innovation was to staff the first- 
priority hospitals with surgical teams from 
a pool. This was sound economy. It also 
was a tremendous challenge. The implicit 
charge to the Third Aux was: "Go forward 
and see what you can do for the seriously 
wounded." Third Auxers accepted the 

The field hos pitalso fthe^ Second Wo rid 
War were indeed um^ueT!S*othin^ l ike them 
had even" b een see n. Here no ordinary de- 
T>ndements, no simple operations, no stereo- 
typed procedures, but only daring explora- 
tions, heroic interventions, and massive re- 
sections. The field hospital was no place for 
the timid. It was a place for fearless sur- 
geons, men with imagination and indestruc- 
tible self-confidence. In the Huntenan lec- 
ture before the Royal College of Surgeons 
on 14 June 1945, General Cutler said: "It 
is to the great credit of the men working 

in our auxiliary surgical groups that the 
mortality rate in the field hospital remains 
as low as it is today — between 30 and )T 
per cent." 

The policy of assigning all first-priority 
surgery to one group of surgeons opened up 
new fields of investigation. One day in a 
field hospital yielded more clinical material 
than ten years in the average surgical prac- 
tice. The Third Aux was not so prolific in 
capitalizing on this opportunity as the Sec- 
ond Aux. There were reasons. As long as 
the front was active, the men were too busy 
to write, and as soon as the war was over, 
t he Group began to tail apart . However 
(his may be, the accumulated experience is 
not lost. It will bear fruit in times to come. 

In [ooking back over the record, one real- 
izes that Third Auxers were privileged char- 
acters, not only professionally but in many 
other ways. 

In the first place, they enjoyed a grea t 
deal gf fr eedom. Before D Day, they roamed 
the TTighways and byways. After D Day, 
they became very busy but they could al- 
ways get away for a trip to Headquarters, a 
visit with a nearby team, or a sight-seeing 
excursion. In this respect, they were far 
less restricted than the hospital personnel, 
because the platoon commander could not 
technically give orders to the teams. Some- 
times the teams became too free* Sometimes 
the platoon commanders were unduly exer- 
cised. To overcome some of these difficulties, 
the Second Aux experimented with a scheme 
whereby the team leader automatically be- 
came the platoon commander. It did not 
work. On the whole, Third Auxers were 
reasonably well behaved, although some of 
them acquired a reputation as incorrigible 

In the second place, Third Auxers escaped 
the burden of administrative work. They 


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did not have to write reports, hold inspec- 
tions, compile inventories, or account for 
property- The only piece of equipment that 
was encrusted to them was the set of surgical 
instruments and this had a peculiar habit of 
growing bigger instead of smaller. Field 
hospitals had their own sets. Just to be sure 
that they would have enough at the next 
stand, Third Auxers would usually expro- 
priate a few of the hospital's items, and when 
they finally turned the sets in, the excess 
fill ed two pyramida l_tents? The supply ortT 
cer had a hard time explaining how he came 
by it. 

In the third place, life at the front was 
exciting. Of course, there were many times 
when the men bogged down. But, compared 
with the islands of the South Pacific, the 
ETO was a three-ring circus. The constant 
change of scene> the contact with fresh 
casualties, the close-up view of foreign cul- 
tures, the opportunity to talk to intelligent 
people of the countries of western Europe, 
these things gave Third Auxers a rich emo- 
tional experience which they will remember 
as long as they live. 

The nurses too can look back on their 
services with the Third Aux as one of the 
most rewarding periods in their lives. They 
shared in the grind and they share in the 
glory. They camped in the mud, they stood 
in the rain, they washed out of helmets, they 
slept in their foxholes, they dressed like the 
men, they braved all the dangers, they 
waived all their privileges, and they suffered 
more keenly under the restrictions. Yet, not 
a single Third Aux nurse ever asked for a 

The system of assigning Third Aux nurses 
to the field hospitals instead of leaving them 
with the teams imposed an additional bur- 
den. These women were with the field hos- 
pital but not of it. Nominally, they were 

Third Auxers; actually, they were field hos- 
pital nurses. Neither fish nor fowl, they 
were constantly teetering on that chin line 
that separates one unit from another. That 
this dual loyalty never interfered with their 
efficiency is an achievement in itself. 

And what about the enlisted men? In an 
organization supercharged with tempera- 
mental surgeons, technicians are very apt 
to be taken for granted. They are supposed 
to know their jobs and ask no questions. 
That is the way it is in civilian life where 
such men can be trained over a period of 
years. But the men of the Third Aux did 
not have years. "When D Day came, many 
of them had never seen blood. On that beach 
where every step was a hazard, these men 
faced not only their baptism of fire but also 
their baptism in an operating room. They 
came forward calmly, confidently, and 

If the Group had needed only a small 
number, the record would perhaps not be 
so remarkable. But there were twenty-four 
teams to be staffed! A hundred men stepped 
from the confines of the training theater 
to the grim reality of the battlefield and not 
one of them faltered. They took their places 
with high determination. They did their 
work unerringly. They subordinated them- 
selves to the welfare of others. And in so 
doing, they emerged as better human beings. 
They gave much but they received much. 
Their contribution is one of the brightest 
pages in the history of the Group. 

In carrying out their mission, Third Aux- 
ers rolled up an impressive list of firsts. They 
were the first surgical teams to he landed 
by glider. They did the first surgery on 
three beachheads. They staffed the first hos- 
pitals in Normandy, in Belgium, in Holland, 
and in Germany. Their path led across 


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beaches raked by shells, through skies swept 
by fire, over ground punished by bombs. 
They marched to the sound of guns, the 
crash of tanks, the roar of planes. No med- 
ical men took greater risks. 

They suffered casualties. One man was 
killed, twenty were wounded, and fifteen 
were captured. Those who were hurt went 
down with their boots on- Those who were 
captured met their fate with their eyes open. 
It could have been otherwise. The men at 

Bastogne could have run for their lives. 
The men at Wilrz could have retreated. But 
they stuck to tlieir posts. They pauI the 
price so that others might live. 

Third Auxcrs were front-line surgeons. 
But they were more than that. They were 
soldiers, pioneers, trail-blazers. They applied 
novel principles, found fresh knowledge, set 
new standards. Theirs is a proud record. 

The Third Aux is dead. The deeds will 

I 3 


Digilized by Google 

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3CUU& Kit Artintt 


1 cy 

Technician Fi**h G*otfa John H. M«l« 


Digitized by Google 

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Major Oo«fW S. Meyer* 

Major Aden M. Boydcn 

Major John B. Peyton 

Major OgfrtM A, Compb*M 

Major Marion E. Block 

Mojor Holll* H. Bramqrd 

Captain Sumnir W, Brawn 

Captain Frank Merio 

Captain Sidney Simon* 

M ■** ^^nnB^n. 

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3 flj 

T14 Clarence C. Moody 

T-4 Morion G. Mttcham 

T-4 Thomoi A, Ow*m 

T-4 Lloyd L. Krw 

Male* Duncan A. Cameron 

Major John A, Growdon 

Major Thomot J. Floyd, Jr, 

Major W. Forrester Male? 

Captain John P. Sheldon 

Lieutenant Virginia Heath 

Lieutenant Edna M. Parke* 

T-4 Robert J. Smith 

J-A Lawrence E. LeMici 


I 3 

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Major James J. Whitsitt 
Major Reynold E. Church 
Major Christopher Stahler 
Captain Michael M. Donovan 
Captain William R. Ferraro 
Captain Anthony Noto 
Captain George A. Friedman 
T/4 Joseph H, Patille 
T/4 Allen E, Ray 
T/J Emil K. Natalie 
T/S Carl L. Heyd 
Major Albert J. Crandall 
Captain Saul Dworkin 
Captain John S. Rodda 
Captain Charles O. Van Gorder 
1st Lt. Alfred D. Sensenbach 
1st Lt. Gladys Snyder 
Major Evan Tansley 

6 June 1944 France 

6 June 1944 France 

6 June 1944 France 

6 June 1944 France 

6 June 1944 France 

6 June 1944 France 

6 June 1944 France 

6 June 1944 France 

9 June 1944 France 

9 June 1944 France 

24 July 1944 France 

21 Sept 1944 Holland 

21 Sept 1944 Holland 

21 Sept 1944 Holland 

21 Sept 1944 Holland 

21 Sept 1944 Belgium 

21 Oct 1944 Belgium 

29 Jan 194 J Germany 


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By General Orders No. 2, Headquarters First Army, dated 2 January 194 J, Major James 
M. Higginbotham was awarded the Silver Star. The citation read as follows: 

Major James M, Higginbotham, 0-1^965 16, Third Auxiliary Surgical Group, United States 
Army, for gallantry in action on 6 June 1944 in France. Observing innumerable soldiers 
lying helplessly wounded upon the fire-swept beach on D-Day, Major Higginbotham cour- 
ageously moved among the men rendering first aid while enemy shells fell dangerously about 
him. During an infantry attack upon the bluff, he voluntarily followed the advance to 
treat the wounds of the men who fell before the withering enemy fire. A fierce artillery 
barrage upon the bluff failed to deter this gallant officer. With undiminished daring, he 
went from foxhole to foxhole to carry out his heroic lifesaving medical duties. By his un- 
flinching devotion to duty and marked valor, Major Higginbotham reflected great credit up- 
on himself and the military service. Entered military service from Tennessee* 

By General Orders No, 101, Headquarters First Army, dated 24 December 1944, Tech- 
nician Fourth Grade Robert J. Smith was awarded the Silver Star, The citation read as 


Technician Fourth Grade Robert J. Smith, 55394832, Third Auxiliary Surgical Group, 
United States Army, for gallantry in action on 6 June 1944 in France. On D-Day Tech- 
nician Fourth Grade Smith, amid bursting shells and exposed to incessant small arms fire, 
courageously assisted in carrying innumerable wounded comrades from the invasion beach 
through waist-deep water to a landing craft offshore. For a period of four hours he con- 
tinued his hazardous duties voluntarily until every wounded soldier on the fire-swept beach 
had been evacuated. The heroic actions of Technician Fourth Grade Smith resulted in sav- 
ing many lives and reflect great credit upon himself and the military service. Entered mili- 
tary service from West Virginia, 


'I n - (^rw*nlf> Original from 




Colonel Joseph A. Crisler, Jr 


1 3 


- 3 

Colonel Joseph A, Crisler, Jr 

Lt. Col. Stephen J. Karpenski 

Major Marion E. Black 

Major Allen M. Boyden 

Major Howard W, Brettell 

Major Albert W, Brown 

Major Duncan A, Cameron 

Major Darrell A, Campbell 

Major Reynold E. Church 

Major Ralph R. Coffey 

Major Robert Mayo Coffey 

Major Ralph A, Dorner 

Major Francis M. Findlay 

Major Thomas J, Floyd, Jr 

Major John A. Growdon 

Major Walter G. Haynes 

Major Alfred Hurwitz 

Major Walter W. King 

Major Frank J. Lavieri 

Major John C. McClintock 

Major William F. Maley 

Major Douw S. Meyers 

Major John Bailey Peyton 

1st Lieutenant Dorothy M. Dietrich 

1st Lieutenant Virginia Heath 

1st Lieutenant Clara H. Hubbard 

T/4 Nicholas Berkich 

T/4 John S. Chobanian 

T/4 Lloyd L. Kraus 

T/4 Lawrence E. LeMieux 

T/4 Marion G, Mitcham 

T/4 Clarence C. Moody 

T/4 John L, Myers 

T/4 Victor Nigro 

T/4 Thomas A. Owens 

T/4 Cecil J. Patterson 


Anthony T. Privitera 

Benjamin R. Reiter 

John P. Sheldon 

Louis M. StoIJer 

Robert M. Sutton 

James J, Whitsitt 

H. Glenn Williams 

Frank Wood 

Glenn W. Zeiders 

n HoIIis H. Brainard 

n Sumner W, Brown 

n Gordon A. Dodds 

n Michael M. Donovan 

n Joseph H. Hillman 

n Donald D, Matson 

n Frank Merlo 

n Wentworth L« Osteen 

n Max H, Parrott 

n Nathan C. Plimpton, Jr 

n Sidney Simons 

n Stanley F. Smazal 

n Charlotte E. Niemeyer 

1st Lieutenant Ruth A. Maher 
1st Lieutenant Edna M. Parker 

T/4 Asa Thomas 

T/4 Marvin R. Wormington 

T/5 Carl W. Hamilton 

T'i Wilmer Meidinger 

T/5 Harold J, Meinz 

T/5 Jan Prys 

T/J William F. Thomas 

T/5 Louis Turi 

Pvt Aurelio DeLeon 


Digilized by Google 

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The following teams became eligible for the Distinguished Unit Badge when the 261st 
Medical Battalion was cited for its work in the invasion: 

Team No, 1 Team No. 3 Team No* 5 

Team No. 2 Team No. 4 Team No. 6 

The following teams became eligible for the Distinguished Unit Badge when the 37th 
Engineers Combat Battalion was cited for its work in the invasion: 

Team No. 8 Team No- IF 

Team No* 11 Team No. 16 

The following teams became eligible for the Distinguished Unit Badge when the 149th En- 
gineers Combat Battalion was cited for its work in the invasion; 

Team No, 13 Team No- 17 Team No, IS 

The following team became eligible for the Distinguished Unit Badge when the 82 nd Air- 
borne Division was cited for its work in the invasion; 

Team No. 19 

The following team became eligible for the Distinguished Unit Badge when the 101st 
Airborne Division was cited for its defense of Bastogne; 

Team No, 20 


e (^rw*nlf> Original from 




The following teams became eligible for the Croix de Guerre avec Palme when the First 
Engineers Special Brigade was cited by the French for its work in the invasion: 

Team No. 1 Team No, 3 Team No. 5 

Team No. 2 Team No, 4 Team No, 6 


Technician Fourth Grade J. D, Dillard 


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Wilson Weisel — "Experiences with Vascular Wounds" 

Interallied Conferences on War Medicine 
Royal Society of Medicine 
Staples, London, 1947 

Chester K. Barta — "Peripheral Vascular Injuries in War Wounds; Their Management in 
Field and Evacuation Hospitals, Civilian Application in Traumatic 

Orthopedic Seminar Notes, Volume 17, 
Section AA, p S9 t 1946, 
The University of Iowa Press 

Mark H, Williams — "Intrabronchial Hemorrhage in Battle Casualties" 
Journal of Thoracic Surgery 16:342, 1947 

Bert Bradford Jr & Darrell A. Campbell — "Fatalities following War Wounds of the 
Archives of Surgery 53:414, 1946 

Donald D. Matson — "The Treatment of Acute Craniocerebral Injuries due to Missiles" 
American Lectures Series No, 22 
Charles C. Thomas. Publisher 

Donald D. Matson — "The Treatment of Acute Compound Injuries of the Spinal Cord 
due to Missiles" 

American Lectures Series No, 23 
Charles C, Thomas. Publisher 


e (^rw*nlf> Original from 



Adams, Ronald W. .132 Homer St., Newton Center, Massachusetts 

Adolph, Paul E.. Horneplace Hospital, Ary, Kentucky 

Ariel, Irving University of Minnesota Hospital, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Ashley, George L. .. 211 West Main St., Chanute, Kansas 

Avent, Charles H. {Deceased) 

Bang, Jacob H. .. .... Argyle Street, Hamburg, Iowa 

^ Barta, Chester K. }746 Amaryliss Drive, San Diego, California 

Baucrle, Benjamin G 1007 Medical Arts Building, I6th & Walnut Sts., Philadelphia 2, Penn. 

Bayley, Howard G ...124 Winn Terrace, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin 

Beaudreault, Elphege A. .441 South Main St., Woonsocket, Rhode Island 

Berghs, Lyle V. ..,,136 West Broadway, Owatonna, Minnesota 

Bernstein, Jacob C. Broadway & Maple, Greenlawn, New York 

Best, Rolland R. ._ J27 Medical Arts Building, Omaha 2, Nebraska 

Binter, Paul A. ... Veterans Administration Hospital, Wichita, Kansas 

\ Black, Marion E, 2600 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 

^ Blair, Harry C. Stevens Building, Portland, Oregon 

Blair, Vilray P, _ .3720 Washington Blvd., St. Louis 8, Missouri 

Blatt, John F Station Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia 

Block, Lawrence A 1026 E. Rusholme St,, Davenport, Iowa 

\Blodgctt, William H , 1J27 W. Lincoln Road, Birmingham, Michigan 
Boyden, Allen M> 1216 S.W. Yamhill St., Portland S, Oregon 

. Bradford, Bert Jr. 603 Atlas Building,, Charleston, West Virginia 

^^Brainarcl, Ho|li5 H 2440 E. Sixth St., Tucson, Arizona 

v Brandon, Sylvan ... Medical Arts Building, Caroline & Walker, Houston 2, Texas 

^- Brattesani, Peter J J23? Locksley Ave., Oakland 9, California 

Brettell* Howard W 1132 Wellesley Ave-, Steubenville, Ohio 

Brown, Albert W. 2J 69th St., McClatchy Building, Upper Darby, Pennsylvania 

Brown, Harwin J. ...... 1032 East 5th St., Winficld, Kansas 

Brown, Herman 2201 North 33rd St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 

^■^Brown, Sumner W. J2f McCallie Ave., Chattanooga, Tennessee 

Broylcs, Watkins A, Bethany, Missouri 

""^ Cameron, Duncan A .,,13116 Santa Rosa Drive, Detroit, Michigan 

■^—Campbell, Darrell A, .1707 Shadford Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Cane, William H. 1020 S.W. Taylor St., Portland J, Oregon 

Carnngton, Hamilton 117 N. Jackson St., Magnolia, Arkansas 

*+* Chad well, Kenneth J , ...26 Lexington Circle, Swampscott, Massachusetts 

Church, Reynold E Ill E. 61st St., New York 21, New York 

v Coffey, Ralph R. , 1324 Professional Building, Kansas City 6, Missouri 

^Coffey, Robert Mayo 2138 S.W. Salmon St., Portland J, Oregon 

Coffin, Silas A. 39 High St., Bar Harbor, Maine 

Connally, Herschel F, 191 J Windsor Street, Waco, Texas 

Crandall, Albert j. 24 North Maple St-, Essex Junction, Vermont 

Crisler, Joseph A, .... - 1255 Eastmoreland, Memphis 4, Tennessee 

Dahill, William J. 63 Main Street, Concord, Massachusetts 

D'Allessandro, Arthur F 3347 West Blvd., Cleveland 11, Ohio 

Dashe, Myer M. 606 North 1 0th St., Reading, Pennsylvania 

Delancy, William F. 1524 Overington, Philadelphia 24, Pennsylvania 

DeSando, Carl J .2099 Ridge Road West, Rochester, New York 

DeWitt, Dwight E 13 High St., Lincoln, Maine 

* DeFabio, Francis X. 34-18 29th St., Long Island City, New York 

Dodds, Gordon A. ...3910 48th Place, N.E., Seattle, Washington 

Donovan, Michael M. . ,.. J07 Hermann Professional Building, Houston 5, Texas 

Dorner t Ralph A 710 Equitable Building, Des Moines, Iowa 



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"^ Dovle, Fred M. American National Bank Building, Kalamazoo, Michigan 

Drischler, William H. 1815 Hartford, East, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Dworkin, Saul 16f7 So. Grand Blvd., St. Louis 4, Missouri 

Egan, Thomas A. 1 5 6 Smith St., Providence 8, Rhode Island 

Eldridgc, Ernest B, 390 No. Sunny Slope, Pasadena 8, California 

Esposito, John A. 118 Church St., Saratoga Springs, New York 

Feemster T Lucien Bloom Building, Tupelo, Mississippi 

Ferraro, William R. 610 Market Ave., North, Canton, Ohio 

""^^Findlay, Francis M ..Masonic Building, Kinkman, Arizona 

Finley, John W. 412 4th Ave., Lewiston, Idaho 

Fisher, Harry 4141 Davjs Ave., Munhall, Pennsylvania 

Floyd. Thomas J, Jr 232 W, Taylor St., Griffin, Georgia 

Foregger, Richard 2373 No. 101 St., Milwaukee 13, Wisconsin 

Francis, Carl C 2109 Adelbert Road, Cleveland 6, Ohio 

Friedman, George A. Ill East 61st St„ New York City 

Galvin, Eugene F. James St., Rosendale, New York 

Garity, Charles 37-63 63rd St., Woodside, New York City 

t, Gartner, Harold , 10 Railroad Avenue, Valhalla, New York 

^* Gates, Claude Y. 60 Lopez St., San Francisco, California 

Gaynor, William C- T. ...Hampton Clinic, Southampton, New York 

. Geib, Fred W + 1100 Park Avenue, Rochester 10, New York 

/"*■ Geider, Roy A . .1816 East Pleasant Run Blvd., Indianapolis, Indiana 

^-Geiger, James M ... IS South 14th St., San Jose 12, California *" 

Goler, George G 1954 East 82nd St., Cleveland, Ohio 

. Gossman, H. Peter 117 South Second Ave*, Mount Vernon, New York 

^* Graves, Clifford L. 2330 First Ave,, San Diego, California 

Greenberg, Milton 4910 I Sth Ave., Brooklyn, New York 

Growdon, John A. 1324 Professional Building, 1 103 Grand Ave., Kansas City 6, Missouri 

Gwinn, Lawrence University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver, Colorado 

Hadden, Frederick 6 Shattuck St., Natick, Massachusetts 

■*"■*** Hagerty, Edward D. - 9i3 Elm St., Manchester, New Hampshire 

Halperin, Max J 29-38 Parsons Blvd., Flushing, New York 

Hansen, Harold M. .... . 82 J Cleveland Ave., Elizabeth, New Jersey 

Harper, Harry P. .... U.S. Veterans Hospital, Livermore, California 

Hatt, Rafe N (Deceased) 

Harris, Leo C, Jr .. Chestnut & Gaines T Lawrenceburg^ Tennessee 

Hayman, Irving R. . 681 Broadway, Paterson, New Jersey 

Haynes, Walter G 2708 Highland Ave., Birmingham, Alabama 

Hemminger, John R Somerset, Pennsylvania 

^-* Hersh, Julius MB North Orange Drive, Los Angeles 36, California 

Higginbotham, James M. 624 Volunteer Building, Chattanooga, Tennessee 

Hillman, Joseph H. 761 East 176th St., Bronx, New York 

^^Hoflman, Ralph L. ..,.. 2270 San Juan, San Diego, California 

Horvitz, Abraham Ill Waterman St., Providence 6, Rhode Island 

Hudson, Clarence J. 116 Garfield Place, Cincinnati 2, Ohio 

Hughes, Max f20 N. Perkins, Memphis, Tennessee 

Humphrey, Isaac 243 Prospect St., Nanticoke, Pennsylvania 

Hurteau, Everett F, 311 Ohio Building, Akron, Ohio 

Hurwitz, Alfred Veterans Hospital, Newington 11, Connecticut 

Hutter, George A. ..._ 228 Horton St., Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania 

Ireland, Treadwell L 611 Westbury Ave., Westbury, New York 

Jacoby, Jacob 1274 West 2nd Ave., Columbus, Ohio 

Jennings, William 404 Union Central Building. Cincinnati, Ohio 

Johnson, Philip . Fairmont, West Virginia 

Jones, Arthur F 522 Washington St., Cumberland, Maryland 


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Kalil, Charles 3002 West Adams, Phoenix, Arizona 

Kane, John W. ff Riverside Drive, Binghamton, New York a 

Karpenski, Stephen J, 132 North St.> Auburn, New York Cbt tf*wjj 

Kavanaugh, Myles T. 214 Chestnut St., Kingston, Pennsylvania 

Kempner, Ivan 44 East 67th St., New York City 21, New York 

King. Walter ^ 103 West High St. p Peoria, Illinois 

Kirby, Edwin G. Sommer Building, La Grande, Oregon 

Kondor, Joseph 5* ..... 1414 South Broad St., Trenton, New Jersey 

Kornfield, Norman B, ... *2 Livington Ave., Arlington, New Jersey 

Krampert, John .. 1118 Milcon Ave,, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania 

Lanz, Kenneth P. 816 Old Wyomissing Road, Reading, Pennsylvania 

Lassiter, James W, Brooke General Hospital, Fort Sam Houston, Texas 

Lavieri, Frank J .... 4101 W. North Ave,, Chicago, Illinois 

Leo, Samuel IS 10 Loring Place, New York City, New York 

Levine, Sidney A J 74 Lynn Fells Parkway, Melrose, Massachusetts 

Lief, Philip A University of Colorado Medical Center* Denver 7, Colorado 

^* Linck, Donald Mills Memorial Hospital, San Mateo, California 

Loksa, Harold T. 36 East 33rd St. t Bayonne, New Jersey 

Longacre, Jacob J. ... Carewe Tower Building, Cincinnati, Ohio 

Lutl, Athey R. 1009 Market St., Parkersburg, West Virginia 

Lyon, Clarence L. ,.., 423 West 24th Ave., Spokane, Washington 

McClintock, John C 149 1 / 2 Washington Ave., Albany 6, New York 

McLoughlin, George W. 82 Westland Ave., Rochester, New York 

McTamaney, Robert A 272 Liberty St,, Newburgh, New York 

Macomber, Douglas W 1820 Gilpin St., Denver 6, Colorado 

Magit, Jack £333 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California 

Maley, W. Forrester 734 Noyes St., Evanston, Illinois 

,. Maloney, Paul K $9 Richmond St., Brooklyn S, New York 

^^ Marks, Herbert , 43SO 11th Ave,, Los Angeles 8, California 

Matson, Donald D 300 Longwood Ave,, Boston, Massachusetts 

Maurer, John H. 470 Raymond St., Rockville Center, New York 

Merlo, Frank 33 Prince St., St. Elizabeth, New Jersey 

Mery, Albert M, 2846 South Florence St., Tulsa 3, Oklahoma 

Mesick, Martin R. 120 Beverly Road, Syracuse 4, New York 

Mevers, Douw S, 44 Maiden Lane, Kingston, New York 

Millington, William A. Veterans Administration Hospital, Walla Walla* Washington 

Mores, Herbert 521 Union St., Hackensack, New Jersey 

Morrone, G. Charles 27 Ludlow Street, Yonkers 5, New York 

Myron, Chester 35-37 S6th St., Jackson Heights, New York 

Nerz, Lester W. J6J Anderson St., Hackensack, New Jersey 

Noto, Anthony 3*0 First Ave., New York 10, New York 

Osteen, Wentworth L. 610 Anderson Ave., Savannah, Georgia 

. Oxford, Theodore M. 1833 Line Ave., Shreveporc, Louisiana 

\* Parrott, Max H. SOS Medical Arts Building, Portland, Oregon 

""■"■**■ Partington, Phillip F. . 3681 Traynham, Cleveland 22, Ohio 

Penterman, Donald G. 2S00 South 4lst St., Lincoln, Nebraska 

Petry, James 430 Austin St., Port Arthur, Texas 

— *~ Peyton, John Bailey 1421 Medical Arts Building, Dallas, Texas 

Plimpton, Nathan C, Jr 78 South 9ih St., Minneapolis 2, Minnesota 

Polski, Paul 61) Marie Ave., South, St. Paul, Minnesota 

Pritchett, Drake . Geisinger Memorial Hospital, Danville, Pennsylvania 

Privitera, Anthony T 1160 Fifth Ave., New York City 29, New York 

Raines, Herbert S + 6897 North 19th St., Philadelphia 26, Pennsylvania 

S* Raney t Aidan A 1136 West Sixth St., Los Angeles 14, California 

Reilly, Christopher J. 331 13th Ave., Newark 3, New Jersey 


Digitized by Google 

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Reiter, Benjamin R .1951 Congress Sc., Fairfield, Connecticut 

Ricntsmeier, Tony 3930 North St oh I, Shorewood, Wisconsin 

Rilling, Reginald S. Findlay, Ohio 

Roberts, Edward H, ... 6130 10th Ave., South, St. Petersburg, Florida 

^■Rocovich, Peter M. 1052 West Sixth St., Los Angeles, California 

■ Rodda, John S. Andrews:, North Carolina 

Rosenthal, Irving H. 3247 Doughs Blvd,, Chicago 23, Illinois 

^ Sapienza, Joseph A, 9 East Haverhill St,, Lawrence, Massachusetts 

^Schneider, Maurice 232 J North Catalina, Los Angeles 27, California 

Seale, James N. Box 390, Jasper, Texas 

Searles. Paul W. 517 Humboldt Parkway, Buffalo, New York 

Selkin, William 1892 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, New York 

*•*• Sensenbach, Alfred D. 1S21 West Cedar St., Allentown, Pennsylvania 

■ Serbst, Charles A, ... . Bacon Building, Marquette, Michigan 

Serena, John M. 27 Bcttswood Road, Norwalk, Connecticut 

^ Sheldon, John P. 610 Cherry St,, Sturgis, Michigan 

***** Shepherd, Walter F 6Q5 West Oliver St*, Owosso, Michigan 

Simons, Sidney 12 3 Massachusetts Ave., Boston* Massachusetts 

Smazal, Stanley F, 2222 Fairhaven Road, Davenport, Iowa 

Smith, J. Russell _ .37 Center St., Provo, Utah 

Smith, Kenneth M. .,., 2 North Main St., Middletown, Ohio 

Snider, Oscar B, Russellville, Kentucky 

Snow, Clarence E 1403 Butler Ave-, Salt Lake City, Utah 

Soderstrom, Edwin M. 1841 L St., Merced, California 

Sohn, Louis . 17 Story St., Brooklyn IB, New York 

Speas, Robert 2800 South St., Terre Haute, Indiana 

Spencer, James H. 49 High St., Newton, New Jersey 

Spritzer, Theodore Dunellen, New Jersey 

Stahler, Christopher, Jr .._ 568 Providence St., Albany 8, New York 

Stoner, Robert T, 1115 North 2nd St*, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 

Stoller, Louis M. ll-A Cannon St., Poughkeepsie, New York 

Scorrs, Bruce D. Morrisville, New York 

Sutton, Robert M 107 Moss Ave., Peoria, Illinois 

Tansley, Evan 116 High St., Newark, New York 

Torrado, Rene A, 1254 West Ave., Miami Beach 39, Florida 

Telia, Rocco A. LL S. Veterans Hospital, Wood, Wisconsin 

Tumiel, Joseph 5 549 South Park Ave., Buffalo, New York 

Twarog, Walter .202 Central St., Lowell, Massachusetts 

Van Gorder, Charles O. Andrews, North Carolina 

Wallfield, Mark 1479 5Qth St., Brooklyn 19, New York 

Warren, Claude M>, Jr Van Antwerp Building, Mobile 12, Alabama 

Weisel, Wilson 324 East Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee 2, Wisconsin 

West, Alroy G. 506 Willow Avenue, Council Bluffs, Iowa 

~**+ Whitsitt, James J, 1050 Mellie Esperson Building, Houston 2* Texas 

Williams, Harvey M* 1825 Christoval Road, San Angelo, Texas 

Williams, H. Glenn 1SB South Bellevue, Memphis, Tennessee 

.^— * Williams, Mark H« 63 Front St., Binghamton, New York 

Winkle, Ralph JJ3 N> Washington St., Clearlake, Iowa 

Winslow, Philip M 240 Alexander St., Rochester 7, New York 

Wolfe, Louis 11 Lawrence St., Chelsea, Massachusetts 

Wood, Frank Edinton, North Carolina 

— Zeiders, Glenn W. 303 30th St., N.W., Canton, Ohio 

Ze we, James A. 5041 2nd Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 


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o uigwzeo uy vjuuviv UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 



Aird, Dorothy ...1S705 Northlawn St,, Detroit 21, Michigan 

Alters, Bernice . 1403 Hilkresi Ave., Roanoke, Virginia 

(Mrs. Stout) 
Alberg, Jean .... 2704 East Everett, Spokane, Washington 

(Mrs. Gundlock} 
Andreko, Madalyn A* 108 Mark Place, Kingston, Pennsylvania 

(Mrs. Falchek) 
Armbruster t Virginia F. 1 Famsworth Ave., Bordentown, New Jersey 

(Mrs. Becker man.) 
Asselin, Mary E. Star Route No, 1, Alpena, Michigan 

(Mrs, George H, Kaufman, Jr) 
Baker, Margaret 6S South Broadway, Lawrence, Massachusetts 

(Mrs. James P. Phelan Jr) 
Bayless, Grace V 98 Brundage St., North Tonawanda, New York 

(Mrs. DeWitt) 

Ben ham } Mary L. Kowa General Hospital, Lawton, Oklahoma 

Bernick, Eleanor E J3* East Montana St., Philadelphia 19, Pennsylvania 

Bestman, Florence 30 Chatham Ave, Pleasantville, New Jersey 

(Mrs. Faires) 
Bigiolli, Mary 412 Curtis Street, Salinas, California 

{Mrs. EspitaHier} 

Bisignano, Ann M R.F.D. No. 2 ( Medford, New Jersey 

Bixby, Bunetta 82 T South Pitt, Alexandria, Virginia 

(Mrs, John L. Paton) 
Bleau, Alberta L. 3020 Cass Street, Omaha, Nebraska 

(Mrs. Ramon R. Luina-Diaz} 

Boesling, Evelyn J. 171 Van Buren Ave., Teaneck, New jersey 

Boone, Flonnie 14 Fourth Ave., N.W., Watertown, South Dakota 

(Mrs* James Swane) 

Bovee, Irene 8366 American Ave., Detroit 4, Michigan 

Bruce, Marjorie A, 724 South Altadena, Royal Oak, Michigan 

Brewer, Irene B Address Unknown 

Brisson, Juanita H, Address Unknown 

Cad well, Maud M. 42 Summer St., Kingston, Massachusetts 

Carpenter, Mary L. Address Unknown 

Davis, Frances Address Unknown 

Davis, Nathalie M 73 Maine Ave., Millinocket, Maine 

(Mrs. McPheters) 

Dietrich, Dorothy M. 26 Franklin St*, Concord, New Hampshire 

Dorton, Maribel Rural Route No* 2, Homer City, Pennsylvania 

(Mrs. John Auld) 

Doty, Irene Madison County Hospital, Winterset, Iowa 

Estes, Mary H. . .... 2230th A.F.R.T.C. Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, New York 

(Mrs. Houghton) 

Fedor, Mary 1 22 S Pine \fay, Braddock, Pennsylvania 

Ferber, Betty 10JJ Embarcadero, Palo Alto, California 

(Mrs. Richards) 
Ford, Beryl ...Pouch A. Hastings, Minnesota 

(Mrs, Orviile K, Milncr) 
Gerhard, Dorothy E 913 Elm Street, Manchester, New Hampshire 

(Mrs. E. D, Hagerty) 
Green, Reba J. Box S84, Madison, West Virginia 

(Mrs. Raymond L, Hammock) 
Grimes, Florence 2 East Banks, Chicago 10, Illinois 



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Hall, Lcsse M. .. Address Unknown 

Hanley, Evelyn T. 10771 LcfTens Blvd., Richmond Hill 19, New York 

(Mrs. George Sinnott) 

Harper, Mcrie L Address Unknown 

Harvey, Mary L. ....... . . . . Halloran Hospital, Staten Island 1, New York 

Heath, Virginia Tucson Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona 

HcfTernon, Elizabeth A. Address Unknown 

Henderson, Carolyn L. Star Route, Vinita, Oklahoma 

(Mrs. Mann) 
Henry, Dorothy 1308 Edgar Ave., Mattoon, Illinois 

(Mrs. J. G. Coats) 
Hibbard, Arlene 140 Lincoln St,, Bangor, Maine 

(Mrs. Thomas) 
Hill, Mary 3J06 2nd Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 

(Mrs. Erekke) 
Horgan, Thelma APO No. 500, Postmaster, San Francisco, California 

(Mrs. W. L Turnbull) 

Hubbard, Clara H. 7 Elliott St., L acorn a, New Hampshire 

Jessop, Mabel E. 200 East Kearsley, Flint 3, Michigan 

Johnson, Helen D. *»0 Brookside Ave., Somerville, New Jersey 

Johnson. Isobe! J504 Uptown Ave., So., Minneapolis 10, Minnesota 

(Mrs. Frank Hickory) 

Johnson, Marcelle M 319 West 4Sth St., New York City 19, New York 

Jones, Geraldine C. Address Unknown 

Reyes, Leonore W. 2JJ7 West Grand Blvd., Detroit, Michigan 

Kinntcfc, lone Box 769, Lancaster, California 

(Mrs. W, J. Zomin*) 
Kirschling, Cecilia L, Station Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia 

Laden, Esther 119 North Thayer, Ann Arbor, Michigan 

Landini, Amelia Z, Address Unknown 

Leveille, Mary E. Address Unknown 

Loring, Marietta L, Station Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia 

(Mrs. J. Fred Blatt) 

Maher, Ruth A 392 Stoddart Ave., Columbus, Ohio 

Marsh, Ida C. .Address Unknown 

Marsic, Mary 97th General Hospital, APW No. 757, New York 

Mayes, Birdie 2821 Hillegass Ave., Berkeley 4> California 

McDonald, Edythc E. Address Unknown 

Miller, Marie V. 40lf Douglas, Des Moines, Iowa 

Moline, Anna Lisa ,... Veterans Administration Center, Dayton, Ohio 

Murphy, Mary C. Address Unknown 

Myers, Lottie M« Address Unknown 

Nace, Verine B. Kiowa Hospital, Lawton, Oklahoma 

Newell, Marianna ... Leipsic, Ohio 

Niemevcr, Charlotte E. Box "A," Kalamazoo, Michigan 

(Mrs, Fred Sattler) 

Page, Sylvia L. . Address Unknown 

Parker, Edna M. Station Hospital, Fort Benning, Georgia 

Pierce, Velma E. Oswego, Illinois 

3 (0 

Powers, Pauline F. 727 Walnut St., Webster City, Iowa 

Radawiec, Miidreci A. 548 Church St., Ann Arbor, Michigan 

(Mrs. R. K. McGregor) 

Ralph, S. Shirley 323 St. Paul St., Brookline, Boston, Massachusetts 

Roe, Carolea Route 2, Box 509, Chester Drive, Los Altos, California 

(Mrs. Allen S. Dunbar) 


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o uignizeo uy vjuuviv UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN 


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Root, Anna 617 North Main St., Tulsa, Oklahoma 

(Mrs, Robert Nelson) 
Ryan, Betty G. 815 Buena Vista Ave,, San Francisco, California 

Ryant, Rita M Address Unknown 

Schenck, Dorothy M. ..-. ...Address Unknown 

Shea, Rita J. Veterans Hospital, Richmond, Virginia 

Shimp, Janice 2000 Curtis Ave., Redondo Beach, California 

(Mrs. Smith) 

Short, Alice T 26 Circuit Road, New Rochelle, New York 

Siron, Hattie G 3021 ThuUw Road, N.W., Washington, D. C. 

Snyder, Gladys M, The Landon School, Wilson Lane, Bethcsda, Maryland 

Snyder, Janet 63 Main 5t + , Concord, Massachusetts 

(Mrs. Wm.J, Dahill) 

Sorter, Mildred R. J14 Wheeler Place, Endicott, New York 

Stewart, Blanche .4S Circle Drive, Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts 

(Mrs. Cyril McQueen) 
Stoker, Retha 101 S Tyler St., Black River Falls. Wisconsin 

(Mrs. Arthur Fredrikson) 

Thompson, Avonella Address Unknown 

Thompson, Julia F» Address Unknown 

Tom back, Louise V .,1521 West 4th St., Los Angeles, California 

Trainor, Gertrude M. 1611 West Franklin, Jackson, Michigan 

(Mrs. Kennedy) 
Trent, Zoe E. Route No, S, Morristown, Tennessee 

Van Atta, Helen P. 1112 Wild Rose Drive, Santa Rosa, California 

Van Duinen, Marian H + Address Unknown 

Van Straten, Cornelia J Address Unknown 

Van der Woude, Florence Address Unknown 

Vogel, Marie B 2294 Homestead Drive, Columbus 11, Ohio 

(Mrs. William D. Hill) 

Walther, Joyce A 206 South Silver Lake St., Oconomowoc, Wisconsin 

Watry, Clara K. Rodriquiz General Hospital, APO No. 8*1, New York, New York 

Webster, Norine 1900 Lapeer Street, Flint, Michigan 

Weckerly, Thelma M. Address Unknown 

Wojciechowska, Helen J 52 S Pierce Ave., Chicago SI, Illinois 

Wright, Edith K. Proctor Hospital, Peoria, Illinois 

Wright, Florence E. Address Unknown 

Anderson, Svend W. Creek Road, R.F.D., SpringvUle, New York 

Andrews* Harry O. 1309 East Morphy, Fort Worth, Texas 

Albanis, Costas 308 Wall Street, Ventura, California* 

Apesos, William 128 Avenue A, Wierton, West Virginia* 

Badura, Jerome S 50 Krakus Blvd., Cheektowaga, New York 

Balcom, Wayne 5. 5054 Hts* Ravenna Road, Fruitport, Michigan 

Barker, Jay W. Box 365, Sanger, California 

Barkow, Elmer G. .501 Garfield Ave., Calumet City, Illinois 

Baruth, Maurice W, 1450 Barnsdale St., Pittsburgh 17, Pennsylvania 

Battistoni, Geno 132 Walnut St., Arlington Heights, Illinois* 

Battles, James E* Address Unknown 

Bear, George W, 221 S.W. JerTerson St., Portland 4, Oregon 

Bell, Roy H. 106 West Schiller St., Chicago, Illinois 

Bens-el, William E, T Jr 144 Bondinot St.* Trenton, New Jersey 4 

Berkich, Nicholas 150 Jackson St., Conemaugh, Pennsylvania 

Berry, Macy ..San Saba, Texas* 

Billow, George A, 1105 Purrell Ave., Cincinnati, Ohio* 


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fiombardi, L. A. .. HI BrinkerhorT St., Plattsburg, New York* 

Bonin, Charles A, S3 J Albermale St., El Cerrito, California 

Bowman, James A. 8 Snyder Ave., Troy, New York 

Boyce, Cassius M + ,12 Alvey St, T Schenectady, New York 

Brasington, Homer E. Route No. 2 t Camden, South Carolina* 

Broerman, George F. Warmoth Engraving Co., Primeraft Building, Indianapolis 4, Indiana 

Brown, Ray 4210 Longford, Dallas, Texas 

Brown, W. H. 312 North Second St., Brownfield, Texas 

Bryant, James H 10 1 East 29th St., Norfolk, Virginia 15 

Bucar, Michael T. .1054 Garfield Ave., R.D. No. 1, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania 

Burgess, Ernest E. R.F.D* No. 4, Clark Road, Bangor, Maine 

Butler, Wiley Troup, Texas* 

Buttke, Fred W. Pendleton, Oregon* 

Camery, Robert G. New Underwood, South Dakota 

Carey, Herbert S . Burgin Star Route, Harrodsburg, Kentucky* 

Castro. Charles W. ,.., 25) B Mosley Ave., Alameda, California 

Cerasoli, Rudolph 420 6th St., Iron Mountain, Michigan 11 " 

Chadwick, Walter R. , 410 North 5th St., West Kelso, Washington* 

Charlton, Roy L. P«ch Creek, West Virginia* 

Chobanian, John S. ... 606 Second St., Braddock, Pennsylvania 

Church, Max J. 229 North Vega, Alhambra, California 

Cogar, Harry Upper Glade, West Virginia* 

Cole, Melvin J Box 300, Somers, Montana 

Cooper, Lloyd 1S59 Bauer Blvd„ Akron 5, Ohio 

Cowan, Cecil C Box US, Vernon, Texas* 

Craft, Charles E Painted Post, New York 

Curran t John M 206 Shaler St*, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Curtis, Oliver W. Route No. I, St. Joseph, Tennessee* 

D'Agostino, Nicholas 1437 Vyse Ave., Bronx, New York* 

Dahl, Ingmar K 42} River St., Hudson, Wisconsin 

DcLcon, Aurelio M. 902 Ruiz St., San Antonio, Texas* 

Denicola, Pasquale J. 1340 Boguet St«, McKeesport, Pennsylvania 

Dillard, J. D. 306 West Fifth, Borger, Texas 

Dixon, Claris W Address Unknown 

Doolittle, Fred A. R.F.D. No. 2. Interlakcn, New York* 

Drexler, Joseph H. 904 7th St,. Oshkosh, Wisconsin 

Duffy, John J 439 North Holmes Ave., Indianapolis, Indiana* 

Dukin, John L, Dover, New Jersey 

Duran, Eddie Box 304, Longmont, Colorado 

Dyszel, John Connerton, Pennsylvania 

Estes, Arvene M* 806 Second Ave., Oskaloosa, Iowa 

Emery, Robert C ... 32-17 SJrd St., Jackson Heights, New York* 

Evans, Kenneth 21 Schauf Ave., Buffalo, New York 

Faskow, Williams _ _ _ 408 Monroe St., Passaic, New Jersey 

Fee, Dewey, Jr R.F.D. No. 2, Rose Hill, Virginia 1 * 

Feency, James R. 440 Rogers Ave., Brooklyn, New York* 

Fieni, Gabriel J. 419 South Street, Pottstown, Pennsylvania 

Fish, James C, Cameron, West Virginia 

Fish, Martin J, .... Address Unknown 

Fisher, Franklin R 214 Pennsylvania Ave,, Watsontown, Pennsylvania 

Fitzpatrick, Edward H. Address Unknown 

Fletchinger, Wally 9 J 3 South University Blvd.. Denver, Colorado 

Flores, Salestino H 113 ^ ^ North Myrtle St., Downey, California* 

Fort, Connelt M. 3310 Beverly Place, Shreveport, Louisiana 

Fox, Martin 23 S Mt. Hope Place, New York, New York* 


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Fringes, John C 1717 East Lombard St., Baltimore 51, Maryland 

Gannon, John J. 173 Panama St,, Pittston, Pennsylvania 

Garcia, Stuart J, 2520 Tulare St., Fresno, California 1 * 

Gardner^ Charles S. 6329 N« Washington Blvd., Arlington, Virginia* 

Gass, Harry Route No. 1, Box 130, New Braunfels, Texas 

Geurink, Thomas A, 1836 Knowles Ave., East Cleveland, Ohio 

Giaguzzi, Thomas J. _ 228 Dayton Ave., Clifton, New Jersey 

Gibson, Edward G Box 192, Castle Gate, Utah 

Gilbert, Willie C 34$ 3rd Ave., Lanett, Alabama* 

Greenblatt, Jerome 48 Mill St., Newburg, New York 

GofT, Rolla J 2938 Mary St., Omaha. Nebraska 

Gorski, Stanley F. 9)2 North Honore St., Chicago, Illinois 

Greene, Cyril W. . ., ISO Ponce de Leon Ave. h NX., Atlanta, Georgia 

Grilli, Alfred C 1 S 52 Montrose, Chicago, Illinois 

Gross, Oneal L. 2149 Central Ave., Indianapolis, Indiana 

Guido, George G,, jr ..... 72ft West I Jth St., Hazelton, Pennsylvania 

Harris, William L 2627 Channing Way, Berkeley 4, California* 

Hamilton, Carl W R.RD. No. 5, Grafton, West Virginia* 

Heida, Joseph B + 3838 Shenandoah, St. Louis 10, Missouri 

Heyd, Carl L R.F.D, No, 1, Tustin Lake, Michigan* 

Hicks, Tommie H. Westville, Florida 

Higgins, Edward W 18f Brimneld Road, Wethersfield, Connecticut 

Hill, Justice D. Address Unknown 

Hinton, Thomas W, 201 Park Street, Lindale, Georgia 

Hopkins, Emery W, 1018 Mollala Ave., Oregon City, Oregon* 

Hord, Marvin T, 20J North 20th St., Paris, Texas* 

Horn, Neil J, Route No. 1, Carnegie, Oklahoma 

Houston, Chester 5 502 Cedar St., Leavenworth, Washington 

Hudnall, Otis W, 1301 Cadiz St., Dallas, Texas* 

Hultine, Luis C. . 5 30 Flynn Building, Des Moines, Iowi 

Humes, Harry 667% Redwood Highway North, Santa Rosa, California 

Hummer, Harry M. 939 Wabash, Topeka, Kansas* 

Inman, Clifford C- Address Unknown 

James, Robert B„ Jr 706 College Street, Belton, Texas 

Jama, William L« _ Address Unknown 

Janson, Lawrence H. R>R. No. 2 S Waterloo, Illinois 

Jebsen, Frank F. 2442 Grove St., Blue Island, Illinois 

Jetti, John V. Portsmouth Road, Stratham, New Hampshire 

Jones, Willie P P.O. Box 431, Webb, Mississippi 

Kantner, Bruce T. _ Chestnut Street, Cressona, Pennsylvania 

Karjala, Bert H Box 33. Bruce Crossing, Michigan 

Kelly, John T. .710 S. Spaulding Ave., Chicago, Illinois* 

Kennedy, Howard J, 118 East Lancaster Ave,, Downington, Pennsylvania* 

Kerns, Ray L. Box 412, Morrill, Nebraska 

Kleinbardt, Alfred E 436 Nuber Ave., Mt. Vernon, New York* 

Kinsella, Victor L + 4000 Lafayette St,, St. Louis, Missouri 

Kobielush, George T 2312 West Palmer St,, Chicago, Illinois 

Kolodziej, Walter A. . 2852 East 87sc St., Chicago, Illinois 

KonikofT, William 717 South Westlake, Los Angeles, California 

Kowalski, Norbcrt L. 2016 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, Illinois 

Krake, Dewey M. 324 Division St., Oregon City, Oregon 

Kraus, Lloyd L, Address Unknown 

LaFlamme, Joseph G. General Delivery, Main Post Office, Boston, Massachusetts 

Lament, George 41-15 Judge Street, Elmhurst, New York 

LiRocca, Joseph C. 2747 W. Henrietta Road, Henrietta, New York 1 * 

3 46 

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Lehr, Boyd W Carthage, Illinois 

Le Mieux, Lawrence E, Park Circle Apartments, Wenatchee, Washington 

Lenox, Sidney ... 211S East 9th St., Des Moines, Iowa, 

Levy, John J, . 655 Franklin Ave., Brooklyn, New York 

Lewandowski^ Anthony J, ... 223 6th Ave., Wilmington, Delaware 

Lewis, Vaudelle L. ... Address Unknown 

Lipka, William J. 22517 Normandy, East Detroit, Michigan 

Lotesto, Egidio j + 1143 White Plains Road, Bronx 60, New York 

Mc Daniel, Eugene V. .600 East Third, Sweetwater, Texas 

McDonald, James R J 17 13th St., Galveston, Texas* 

McNeeley, Wilbur J 2702 Bridge Ave., Cleveland 13, Ohio 

Mannes, Osmond M, Box 171, Amagansett, New York 

Maravich, Nick L 1 3 Ohio St,, Aliquippa, Pennsylvania 

Mawhinney, Robert H. .. Bunola, Pennsylvania 

Meads, Philip A 30 Momello St-, Provincetown, Massachusetts 4 

Meidinger, Wilrner J21 North Merrill Ave., Glendive, Montana 

Mcinz, Harold J, 211 East 44th St., Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Merkord, Clarence F Route No. 1, Thorndale, Texas 

Mil bert, Alexander P. 6823 Virginia St., St. Louis 11, Missouri 

Mitcham 1 Marion G. Box 45, Claunch, New Mexico 

Mitchell, Troy 33SO Medical Squadron, Box 64, Keesler Air Force Base, Biloxt, Miss. 

Montgomery, Joseph S 3828 South Main St., Los Angeles, California 

Moody, Clarence C. Cameron, Texas* 

MuLlison, Loren R. 61 J East Cornell, Route No, 4, Enid, Oklahoma 

Muska, Francis J, Box 137, Broadbrook, Connecticut 

Myers, John L, 203 Meernaa, Fairfax, California 

Natalie, Emil K. 220 East Fifth St + , Julesburg, Colorado 

Nelson, Robert T. ... 704 Parch Road, Fort Sam Houston, Texas 

Nelson, Walter I. 840 West Avenue, Reedley, California 

Netherland, James R, 117 Valencia, Yorba Linda, California 

Nigro, Victor . 2201 Columbia, San Diego, California 

Norten, Fred W. .2429 Erie St., River Grove, Illinois* 

Novich, Abraham ,.. 2487 East 21st St., Brooklyn, New York 

Odle, Frank General Delivery, Camden, Tennessee 

Olwood, Wallace 376 Washington St., Lynn, Massachusetts* 

Orr, Leroy J. Beresford, South Dakota* 

Orth, George W. 361 S, Winebiddle St., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania* 

Owens» Thomas A. Address Unknown 

Pastor, Julius A. 701 Water St., Watertown, New York* 

Patilla, Joseph H 2402 West 6th St., Wilmington, Delaware 

Patterson, Cecil J, 311 Mill Street, Dallas p Oregon 

Pawlowicz, Edward M. 21 J6 Concord Place, Chicago, Illinois* 

Peevey, Doss W Route No. 3, Madill, Oklahoma 

Peluso, Guy C. .... 7643 Frankstown Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

Piasecki, Joseph $. , Ml? E. Moyamensing Ave., Philadelphia 47, Pennsylvania 

Pike, David V. Route No. 1, Box 161, Siler City, North Carolina 

Polyniak, Julius 181 Knapp Ave., Clifton, New Jersey* 

Porzio, Vincent F. 168 Washington Ave,, Hawthorne, New Jersey* 

Prys, Jan Route 2, Box 374, Hanford, California 

Rautiola, Matt A. Route No. 1, Mass, Michigan 

Ray, Allen E. 224 Queen Anne Drive, Salisbury, North Carolina 

Reedy, George G. .... .. Address Unknown 

Rice, George E., Jr R.D. No, 6. Box 107, Greensburg, Pennsylvania 

Ressler, Chester H. Address Unknown 

Ricchcrs, Fred H. 662 Sibley St., Hammond, Indiana 


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Roberts, Anderson P. . Route No, 2, Marion, Louisiana* 

Roberts, Nelson D. 500 Stafford St., Lynchburg, Virginia 

Robinson, Wesley E. Route 2, Wolfe City, Texas 

Roesch, Loyal S- 336 West Parish St-, Sandusky, Ohio 

Rogers, Raymond G. R.F.D. No. 2, Cambridge, New York* 

Rogers, William M,, jr 1281 Scoville Drive, Lexington, Kentucky 

Romillard, Aldor R, ..... 47 L